Category Archives: My Thoughts

Being Published… Is it just about the numbers?

I have been publishing work for a little over a year now and have found it very gratifying.  The draw to my work by readers could be better, but when you consider I only advertise on twitter and the web site, the interest is really more than I could have hoped.  It did however get me thinking about publishing and why we want to publish.

 

We publish for different reasons.  For some of us it is all about the money.  For others its about the message the author wants to convey.  Truth be told there are a number of reasons why we write and publish.  So why do you write?  Is your writing validated by publishing?

 

That is the tougher question.  Validating your work through publishing can increase our confidence and motivate us… but why?  Is it just to see your name on the cover?  I tend to look at this from the standpoint of the reach my work actually gets. Publishing can definitely boost our confidence and drive us to do more sometimes, but when your work doesn’t draw interest in the form of unit sales, that confidence can turn into a depressed attitude and become more discouraging because your message is either not being heard or no one is really interested in what you want to say.

 

This was me.  I wanted to tell a story… or a number of stories in my case and I started with a memoir that I know wouldn’t sell, but seeing that first copy arrive in the mail was extremely gratifying.  I was officially published.  It drove me to want more.  So much so that I started to watch unit sales hourly for awhile – especially when I wrote a new piece.  That is when the frustration set it, because while I saw eBook sales or KENP Pages go up, the unit sales just were not where I wanted.

 

Now I just received my first copies of all of my printed books and the frustration is still there, but not as much as before, because I notice that the eBook route is a better route than the printed.  I realized that a printed copy has more value to me or to a reader who I have impacted enough to want to keep the story closer to them – a moment of sorts.  The eBooks are for the story lovers that can’t get enough and who just love to read.

 

So, think about why you write first, then figure out if you want to share that story – knowing that not everyone will enjoy it, then figure out if it is worth the extra time and effort to publish it.

 

Good Luck,

US… UK? and Beyond – What is the issue with eBooks outside the US

I am growing increasingly frustrated with Amazon right now.  So much so that I putout a feeler on social media to see where readers were getting their ebooks from (Kindle or iBooks).  The unanimous response was Amazon Kindle – which frustrated me even more because of the problems I was having.

I recently got wind of something I was ignorant about and maybe I still am.  I friend from Canada reached out to me not too long ago informing me about one of my books not being available in Canada.  As I looked into it I also realized that this was similar to what was happening in the UK and other parts of Europe.  I have a specific author page in the UK with Amazon, but as I look at the postings, it indicates that they are available in the US and not specifically in the UK.

Has anyone else seen this issue before?  If so how did you address this or is it even an issue?  I am curious and concerned as I have been having some major difficulties of late with Amazon and specifically Kindle Direct Publishing which has held up the release of other works I have written.  My hope is that this is just another situation where I don’t have all the facts, but if it is Amazon and there is no way to get around it, I may consider publishing all stories on my web site instead and using PayPal or other eCommerce service to sell the books.

 

Self Publishing Can Be Self Aggravating

I started publishing my short stories and books a little over a year ago and while I have been very happy with the interest and feedback I have received, I have to admit the process is a pain in the ass sometimes.  What I should say is the process is fairly simple, but the waiting and the support is what can be frustrating.

There are a lot of tools and other writers who have their own tips and tricks to self publishing – ALL HAVE  VALUE and you should consider reading a number of authors’ viewpoints.  Mine are exactly that… mine.  Some of you who have tried this process with Amazon have recently seen a few changes – especially after the merging of CreateSpace.

Here are a few things you should prepare before you ever publish.

The obvious is make sure you have an idea of what your message really is with your work.  No one has read your work yet, so the cover and byline are going to be the first draw.

Then consider eBook or Paperback… or both.  Depending on length and topic of your work you may consider one over the other.  Many people are gravitating more to ebooks, but there are the purists that still enjoy flipping pages and adding the physical copy to their library.  The other thing to consider is the contents.  ebooks are just as good as paperbacks, but including images… for example a graphic novel can be frustrating when you have to position everything perfectly for different e-readers.  It is also important to note that paperbacks will obviously be more expensive to create and will cut down on the royalties.

Next consider your cover little more in-depth.  Amazon has a great option built it for covers based on their templates.  For those who are more creative you can create your own cover, just make sure it fits the dimensions Amazon requires.  You should also think about the look of that cover – especially when you are writing about questionable topics, such as erotica.  Remember it is not a porn mag and being overly explicit when creating your cover can get your cover rejected. And consider the reader, especially when you are offering paperback copies. I doubt the reader would take the book out and read it on an airplane or in the park if the cover looks like a smut magazine.

Finally, have your work reviewed before you start the process.  Grammar is only one aspect, how the story is told is also important.  You may start a story in the 3rd person, but as you continue to write, you can sometimes put yourself in the story and it becomes a 1st person story by the time you are finished.  Take to other authors and consider a pre-release review of the piece.

Now the other issues around self publishing is timing.  It does take a little time to get everything reviewed before it becomes available.  For most writers this is not a big deal and to be fair – it is a lot faster than going through a different publishing firm.  the issues around timing are also centered around how you setup the piece.  If you originally setup the piece as an ebook and then go back and add it as a paperback, the time it takes to get that done and make it available is a pain to deal with.  I have gone to support several times and the canned answers that it is in review after 3 weeks – even though they say 72 hours – is frustrating.  Consider creating both ebook and paperback at the same time and you can control the publishing releases at that point, but it will get the piece reviewed and approved faster.

Always remember what songwriters do… #keepwriting.  Not everything you write will be accepted by your audience.  No singer has an album of hits, they have an album that has one or two and it keeps the fan coming back.  The same is true when you write.  Stick to your vision and your passion.  You are not going to please everyone, but like the game of golf, all you need is one good shot to keep you going and keep you coming back.