Category Archives: Social Media

Book Review – Write. Publish. Repeat.

To be published or self-publish, that is the question.

Since the advent of the ebook, a slow and constant paradigm shift has been occurring in the publishing world.  Much like how Napster and, later, ITunes changed the face of music, Amazon and the Kindle have changed the face of publishing.

WPRNo longer do authors have to fit into limited slots and strict guidelines to have their books published by traditional publishing houses.  No longer do authors have to give up the rights and control of their work in order to get a small advance and 15% of the royalties.

Thanks to the ebook and the Amazon marketplace, anyone can upload their book and make it available to consumers.  Under normal price points, Amazon takes 30% and you keep 70% of all sales.  Under this model, for every book you sell self-published, a traditionally published author has to sell five books to make the same amount of money.

There are many challenges to self-publishing.  You still need a good editor, a great book cover and a marketing plan.  Self-publishing requires authors to be entrepreneurs at the same time.  They can’t hide in their rooms and only write.  They need to promote and sell their wares.  They need to blog and be involved with social media.

If you’re interesting in self-publishing and unsure of where to start, I strongly recommend Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with David Wright.

These “authorpreneurs” work and write together to create an insane volume of work, all the while openly sharing their real world experiences on their popular podcast, Self-Publishing Podcast (note: their podcasts often include colorful language).

Recognizing the advent of binge consumption of television programs, they’ve come up with a series of novellas they call episodes and that, together, make a series.  It’s a brilliant approach that has worked very well for them.

Through trial and error they’ve come up with effective strategies in the current selling structure, such as making the first book in the series free forever (or perma-free) and using that as a “funnel” which allows many people to try out their work with the hopes of directing them to a focused call-to-action, i.e., buying the rest of the season.

They’ve had great success with this approach and have been completely honest about how they do what they do, both in the podcast and in the book.

The book is more than just a how-to, it’s their story.  It’s a very easy read and, if you are like me and prefer paperbacks over ebooks, it’s a hefty 478 pages.  When I purchased the paperback they also included the ebook for free which is a great perk, because it allows you to read the book in your preferred way, yet use the ebook to quickly find any info you may need at the time.  I don’t know if that perk is permanent or only available when I made my purchase.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  It’s a hands-on, successful approach that takes advantage of the opportunities the current publishing landscape affords.

If you’re interested in self-publishing, begin with Write. Publish. Repeat.  It will start you off in the right direction.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Is Facebook Heading in the Right Direction?

This is a great video by Derek Muller from Veritasium about the changes to Facebook that not only limit what you see from the people you are friends with, but also the challenges entrepreneurs (including authors) have when trying to use Facebook to promote their wares.

Tagged ,

Helpful Links

Want to start writing or publishing novels?

There are a lot of great websites out there to help new writers learn from experts and for starting publishers to get a feel on the marketplace.  Here are a few that I’ve found helpful and the ones I visit most often.

Alton Gansky – a successful Christian author who has published over 40 books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Gansky provides video interviews on a consistent basis with leading authors, publishers, editors and book designers.  If you want to learn from the experiences of others, this site is a great resource.

Books & Such Blog – Books & Such is a literary agency that represents over 150 authors, including over 20 best selling writers.  The faith-filled staff provide nearly daily blog entries on all things literary from the perspective of an agent.  I visit this site daily.  They don’t represent me, but I hope, by the time the Gabby Wells novels are published, I’d have gained enough traction to have them represent me on another novel series I plan to write after the Gabby books are done.

Michael Hyatt – Hyatt was once the Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, the largest Christian publisher in the world.  He has turned his focus to speaking, helping people get the most out of their products and rising above the congestive marketing noise on the internet.  His website and other offerings are full of effective and helpful information.  His book Platform, previously mentioned on this website, is one of the most practical, inspiring and helpful books for people trying to grow a following and market their material.

Molly Greene – Greene is a free lance writer, blogger and author who continually updates her site with her own insight or links to other helpful blog entries that can range from writing to publishing, marketing to promo ideas.

Chip MacGregor – another literary agency with a nice blog that is updated consistently with great information.

John August – For those of you interested in screenwriting, August (Big Fish, Go, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) provides a vast array of information, including a weekly podcast with fellow screenwriter Craig Mazin (Identity Thief, Hangover 2 & 3).  Great insight about the business from people inside the business.

And here are some other helpful websites for specific needs.

Good Reads – If you like to read novels and want to share your experiences with others, Good Reads is a great place to see what other people are reading and what they think about them.

Chesterton Press – If they were accepting submissions, I would submit our Gabby Wells novels to this Catholic publisher.  However, on their submissions page, if you scroll down to A Brief Analysis of Story Telling: The Harry Potter Standard you will find a detailed and wonderfully instructional guide, using J.K. Rowling’s approach to writing, to show the right way to structure and approach writing.  Great stuff.

Createspace vs. Lightning Source – Not sure if you should self-publish in Amazon’s Createspace, publish with the main printing company (Lightning Source) nearly all publishers use, or some combination of both, this blog entry from Terri Guiliano shares the pros and cons of each approach.

99 Designs – needs a book cover?  Get book designers submitting their work to you for a relatively low price.

Catholic Writers Guild – Writing a Catholic book and need a way for book stores to know your book is in line with Catholic teaching?  The Catholic Writers Guild offers a service to read and approve your book with an official Seal of Approval.

These are just some of 150 or so sites I have accumulated about the publishing industry.

Take a look and happy hunting.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast 02 – Author Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand, author of over 20 novels, including the highly successful Andrew Mayhem Series and A Bad Day for VooDoo shares his approach to his comedy-horror novels, the changes to distribution and his latest release, Dead Clown Barbecue.

JeffStrand-Podcast

Many thanks to Jeff who suffered through a cold while recording the podcast.  He’s a trooper.

Enjoy the Show!

(Running Time 38:24)

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Jeff Strand

Lynne Hansen Design

Books:

Conventions:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Platform

Platform, by Michael Hyatt, is one of the most helpful books I’ve read in a long time. It guides you throw the process of creating a compelling product and how to use proven strategies to promote that product in the numerous social media outlets available to you.

platformThe “Platform” refers to rising you above the marketing noise in order to make you and your product more visible to potential customers.

What is amazing about Platform is how the advice and tools can be applied to anything you are trying to do, no matter the product or scope.

Most helpful of all is that each chapter offers specific tips to achieve, which often include tangible tasks that guide you toward that goal.

So, it not only gives you an idea of what to do, but tasks or suggestions on how to do it.

In the few short weeks since I’ve read the book, I’ve already starting putting many of his suggestions into practice, with positive results. And the baseline by which I will consider my goals a success have been raised dramatically because, with Hyatt’s book, I feel those new goals are achievable using his advice as a guide.

As our products evolve and change over time, I know I’ll be revisiting Platform quite often to look for more ways to rise above the noise.

This is a must have book in todays ultra-busy online world.  If you want to stand out in a massive online crowd, Platform is the best place to start.

You can read more about the book and the author on his excellent website.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,