I can tell you right now that it is not the authors that are profiting from self-published authors. Every day I get information in my email inbox about how to market, how to reach readers, do this on social media and listen to this podcast or take this course.
They all want your money. Believe me I've tried a few of them and it has not increased my sales one tiny bit.
Today I received a message about the changes that are coming to Create Space and how they are moving everything over to KDP Publishing. But guess what? They want to charge me $12 to listen to the podcast on Friday. It's not my fault they are changing so why should I have to pay to learn how they will handle my books?
This gets a little ridiculous when every time I turn around someone has a new theory on how I can improve my sales and they want to charge me for that information.
Every self-published author I know is struggling to get their book out there and to have people buy it and READ IT.
In my last post I talked about readers who store up all the free downloads from Kindle and never read the books. That drives me nuts. That's my rant for the day.
Please leave a comment or ask a question. I promise to not charge you for answering your question. All information is free here.
Oh by the way. I will be at the Barnes and Noble in Sarasota on Saturday morning with the Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime signing my books. IN the afternoon we are going to the Selby Library for a tea in honor of Agatha Christie's birthday. Should be loads of fun. Come by the B&N for a signed copy of my award-winning Honey Tree Farm - For the Love of the Beekeeper's Daughter or Blood Orange. Both books are set in the Myakka/Arcadia area of Florida and great reads.
Do you store the free Kindle downloads in your reader and forget about them? A great many readers do and that defeats the whole purpose of authors offering their books for free.
As authors we want people to read and enjoy our books and hopefully post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Authors are basically trying to make a few dollars from a product just like anyone else. They are paid Royalties on books and eBooks that are purchased but they get nothing from giving away eBooks that go unread sitting in your reader. The only way an author can be paid is from the pages that are read.
I hear so many times that people have hundreds of unread books in their devices. Do they ever think about the author that is waiting hear if you enjoyed their book. Even if a review is not posted, the author can see how many pages that have been read.
The same goes for free codes and giveaways. Authors offer these in exchange for reviews. We think our books are wonderful but need to know what others think of our efforts.
It takes a long time to write a book. It usually takes me a year or more to get a book ready to publish. When you put that much blood sweat and tears into something you want to know you've done a good job.
Collecting free Kindle downloads and not reading the book doesn't help an author one bit. If you are one of those collectors think about the authors out there and start reading your downloads.
One of the best things I've had happen is when I'm out at a book signing and someone who bought one of my books tells me how much they enjoyed it and buys the next one. That makes it all worthwhile. All an author wants to do is have his book enjoyed. Tell the authors about your experience and read those downloads.
, I finally received the codes for a free download of my new audiobook from Audible. I really had to chase them down. I love Audible but they work on their schedule not mine.
I have a few codes left for my first audiobook, Broken Branches. Authors give out freebies with the hope that the person receiving it will go on to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Authors live for reviews. How else are we going to know if our readers, or listeners liked their hard work. So far I have received one review for the audio version of Broken Branches. It was a pretty good review if I do say so myself. The story was very well received and only a little constructive criticism of the narrator. We will get better thanks to that review.
I have twenty-five codes to give away in exchange for a review of book two in the Green Lady series, Whispers in Time.
Now is a great time to try an audiobook. I'll be having book three in series, Hidden Assets, made into an audiobook before Christmas, fingers crossed.
By the way my children's book, Sailing Away to Nod, won a Silver medal in the Florida Authors and Publishers Presidents awards in Orlando this month.
Sailing Away to Nod would make a great Christmas present for a young child. What kid could resist a giant, a dwarf and princess. It's available in hardcover and as a Kindle.
Who knew young children would be using Kindles? I sure didn't.
If you have written a book and published in paperback you really should consider doing a Kindle as well. If you use KDP, which is part of Amazon ( isn't everything) you can sign up for kindle select and offer your kindle for free, up to five days in any three month period. I can hear you ask how does that benefit me? You will be paid for every page that is read from the Kindle Global fund which has millions to give to authors.
Free does work. It gets your name out there and your books read. I have a small following for my Green Lady Inn series. I'm working on book four now, The Spell Box. As always I just have to sit my butt in the chair and finish it. I'm three quarters of the way done on the first draft. You can read reviews of my books on Amazon. I hope they will tempt you to try one.
If you would like a code for book one, Broken Branches, or book two, Whispers in Time, please send me an email - email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.
I'm a self-published author. I'm also a control freak and like to have a say in everything to do with my books and also want a bigger chunk of my royalty. I don't want to pay an agent 15% and a publishers another cut of my profits.
That said, I love to read books by other self-published authors. Recently I finished a series by Leslie S. Talley. Her series is the Clarice Campion/ Miss Letty Mysteries and they are a joy to read. The last in the series is in a castle in Scotland, The bonnie, Bonnie Bone
The books are about an innkeeper and her family who trade places with other innkeeper's all over the place. Every where they go they find dead bodies or skeletons and the hunt is on to find who done it. Her home inn is in Daytona FL. Her descriptions are lively and you can actually picture the setting in your mind. The books are a history lesson as she brings each setting to life. What I also enjoyed was that they are written in the first person and she has done a fantastic job. The books are filled with humor and the exchanges between the characters are wonderful. I found myself laughing and talking back to the pages. A must read for anyone that likes a great cozy mystery.
The other book I've been reading is Illusions of Paradise, by Pat McKanic. I'm having a hard time with this one. It's a bit slow and the formatting make it difficult to discern chapter breaks. It's set on the Island of San Saypaz', somewhere hot and beachy.
The main characters are a sexy female reporter and an even sexier detective. I just think it could have been tightened up and moved a bit faster. I put it down in favor of reading the Bonnie, Bonnie Bone by Leslie S. Talley.
Now to blow my own horn. My children's book, Sailing Away to Nod won a silver medal in the Florida Authors and Publishers Presidents awards this past weekend in Orlando.
As always I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or ask a question.
It's been almost two weeks since I had surgery on my shoulder. Believe me the physical therapy hurts like H-ll. I been a bit lazy in blogging but I have to tell you about this conference.
My writers group, ABC Books 4 Children & Adults, Inc., has planned it's first writers conference for April 13, 2019 in Port Charlotte Florida. Titled the Southwest Florida Writers Conference we have been busy contacting NY agents, editors and publishers and they are coming. This is the first time such a conference has happened in this area.
This evening I got the first line up of the workshops and talks to be presented. It's pretty impressive. I have always tried to learn as much as I can about my craft. If you want to be the best you can be try attending a conference in your area.
I will be giving a workshop on internet marketing. In the few years that I have been writing I've also been learning all I can about marketing. I'm not on the Times bestseller list. I just enjoy the challenge of trying to sell my books. I started out writing children's books moved on to adult cozy mysteries, made them into kindles and now I'm taking my Green Lady Inn series into audio. If you would like to try an audio book here is a link.
Broken Branches Is book one in the award-winning Green Lady Inn series. Whispers in Time is book two in the series and will be available soon.
I'll be back soon PT today was a killer. Nice young man was trying to take my arm do impossible things.
Please leave a comment or a question. I'd love to hear from you
'I've said it before. Marketing your book takes time and effort. It often draws you out of your comfort zone. Authors by nature are solitary creatures. We work alone and do not disturb is always hanging on the door.
Technology can be very frightening to some, especially the older generation. It doesn't have to be. All marketing is done electronically these days and technology is key.
I'll be seventy in a couple weeks and believe me I'm learning all the time. I have to say I'm pretty good with the computer and the technology. I just keep pressing the buttons until it does what I want.
I know a couple authors that have written two or three books and still don't know how to copy and paste. Yesterday I had several calls from a frustrated author that didn't know how to download a file I sent her. We all learn at different speeds, but just because it's hard or difficult you can't give up.
One author wanted to market her eBook to libraries. That is a challenge. First you have to have your eBook on Overdrive for libraries. She saw my eBooks listed there and thought she could register and put her books on the site. It's not as easy as that. Overdrive is for publishers with a lot of books. I found that out the hard way after trying several times to get my eBooks there
For a self-publisher that has used KDP and signed up for Kindle select you have to get out of that. With Kindle Select you agree to be exclusively with KDP.
Next you have to upload your eBook files to a Distributer. I used Draft2Digital. for me it was very easy to use. The books were automatically listed on Overdrive for Libraries.
Talking to the author spurred me on to promoting to my local libraries that my eBooks were on Overdrive and available.
I had to create new sale sheets and call the libraries to find out who the proper person was to send them to. Don't you hate it when people don't return phone calls?
I managed to send to two library systems and will find out the email for some more. I spent several hours doing this marketing today. It's what you have to do to be even a little bit successful. Most of the hours I spend with my writing is on marketing.
I have The Spell Box - Book four in the Green Lady Series half done and I'm anxious to finish it. It might sit on the back burner for a few weeks as I'm having surgery on a torn rotator cuff. That's what I get for not acting my age.
In the mean time my illustrator is working on my next children's book. I keep changing the title. At the moment it's Hayden and Fred. Fred is a caterpillar Hayden brings home from school. the book tells how it turns into a butterfly.
That's me and Hayden in case you didn't guess. This will be my fifth Hayden book and my ninth children's book. Oh did I tell you that Sailing Away to Nod is a winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President's award.
Please send me your comments and questions. I love to help author learn the ropes.
As some of my readers know I love technology. I moved on to Audiobooks converting my novel, Broken Branches. My second Audiobook Whispers in Time will be released in a couple weeks. Last night I got to wondering how to put the preview chapter of the book on YouTube. It took some time but was a lot easier than I thought.
I set up a YouTube account and began to figure it out. You do need a Gmail account.
I found a free service - Tunestotube. I had a chapter one preview on MP3. I uploaded it to TunestoTube. It even allows you to upload the cover of your audiobook. with the help of a google email account. It automatically connects to YouTube and puts your Audio and cover there for you to use in promoting your book.
I would suggest you only do a preview and not your whole book. After all we want them to buy the Audiobook. My Audiobooks are with Audible and listed on Amazon.
Listen to the preview of Whispers In Time and let me know what you think.
A few years ago when KDP let you offer free downloads and paid you for each page read the royalties came rolling in. You promoted you free kindle, readers downloaded hundreds of your book. Authors jumped on the band wagon and made more than ever before.
Recently I've seen a disturbing trend. I promote my free downloads and maybe thirty to forty readers take me up on the offer but they didn't read the book. It still works a bit for a new release but after that it's a really hard job to get readers to actually read the free book you are trying so hard to promote.
Enter Smashwords and now Draft2digital.
Amazon and KDP had you over a barrel. You could only offer free downloads if you were exclusive with them. As royalties slipped I had to try something new.
I've taken my three stand alone titles, Blood Orange, Honey Tree Farm and Bottle Alley out of Kindle select. I'm no longer exclusive with KDP.
Taking a leap of faith, I've taken those titles to Draft2Digital. The royalties are better and you can still promote your eBooks just not for free. Free wasn't getting me anywhere anyways. I also like the set up in Draft2Digital. You upload the word manuscript and they do the converting. Even creating a table of contents for your chapters along with several other options. I trolled around on their webpages and really like the way it's laid out and what you can do there. They even supply codes for readers to click on that will take you directly to the sell page for your eBook. What surprised me was I misspelled a word in the description and before they would publish I received an email to correct it. KDP prints everything, errors and all.
Like I said this is a test. I'll give it six months and see what happens to my royalties.
I'm not necessarily in this for the money and getting awards is great but I would like to break even at some point. My husband would be ecstatic.
So you can play around with giving your books away to readers who don't read them or cross your fingers and hope they buy your eBooks.
I've charged authors to teach them how to use KDP and promote their eBooks. Some were very successful. Some not so much. Let's see if I'm still recommending KDP in six months.
I suffer from writers block the same as any other author. It drives me nuts. I know I have to finish up a novel and just can't make myself sit in the chair and do it.
I'm working on the Spell Box, book #4 in the Green Lady Inn series, and have been since last Fall.
My daughter left my grandson, Hayden, with me just now. She's gone shopping. I love my little bug but he talks my ear off. He's eight and want to know everything.
So back to my problem. Time is my enemy. There is just not enough of it. I get up in the morning with all the best of intentions. I sit down at the computer and my day just gets away from me. I answer emails, work with clients, update my webpage occasionally. do some marketing and always plan to work on my book before my husband comes home. Once he is home all the best laid plans go out the window.
I promised myself I would write on my book everyday this week. I was good yesterday and put down 1200 words, today not so good.
I think I need to move to a cabin in the woods or better yet a swanky hotel with room service.
If you have any suggestions on how to avoid writers block, please let me know.
I did get my new children's book started. It's being illustrated now and should be ready by my first event for the season. Labor day weekend I'll be at the Pioneer Days Festival in Englewood Florida. It's going to be in Festival Park. I've never done this one before so fingers crossed.
Please ask questions or leave comments. I'd love to hear from you.
I love reading books by Self-published independent authors. Some are ok and some are really very good, even great. One author I found recently and enjoyed very much is Leslie S. Talley.
I met Leslie at the Authors For Authors Conference in Melbourne FL. last April.
Sometimes I feel bad for authors that are trying so hard to find an audience for their book that I will buy one, not expecting much.
Was I ever surprised when I started reading the first book in her amazing series. The first book, Make Old Bones. It's written in the first person, which I don't usually like but this book drew me in and I couldn't get over how well written it was. The humor is contagious . Exactly what a person would say or think. The ending was such a surprise. A really OMG moment. Set in the Daytona area of Florida, learning some history was fun too.
I simply had to read the next book, Bred in the Bone. this one moved to the St. Augustine area. I've never visited there but I know so much about the area now I just have to go. Again this book kept me turning pages well past the time I should have turned the lights out. Family secrets hidden for 150 years are exposed when Otis, Clarice and Miss Letty swap B & B's with another innkeeper and his wife. I'm ordering the next book, The closer the Bone, today. I encourage you to try this series. And always post a review and help an Indi author out.
comments and questions are welcome.
From the active mind of Brenda M. Spalding