Here I sit and wait on one correction to be made on the back flap of cover for my republished book, Saga of the Ages. It has taken nearly a week to get something done. At least my original publisher was faster, although the books were more expensive online. Golden rule: You get what you pay for. I wanted to reproduce a book that was less expensive and more affordable to readers. I wonder if I invested wisely into republication. There is no way to know until I get results. Are there any other writers or authors out there that have experienced the same thing? Am I just too impatient? It has only been a few weeks if that.
This is the tenth and final week I will be presenting tips to new writers and authors. I hope the ten weekly posts were helpful and something you can come back to. At least, it gives you an idea of what to expect in the publishing world. As reiterated many times, no course or book can teach you everything to learn about publishing. Practical experience and recognition as an author and writer are the best teachers.
A good writer knows how to write. A great writer not only knows how to write well, but will give direction and guidance to others. This advice is offered freely. I don’t proclaim to be an expert; I still have lots to learn too.
Five years of writing and publishing led me down this path. A path I did not choose; it chose me. To wrap up this week, I offer several suggestions:
- Look at alternate publishers before you select a publisher. Do your research beforehand and ask questions. You might find another publisher who does work less expensively than another and/or you get more profits (including royalties) from book sales.
- Remember to get everything you expect in writing before you sign a contract. If not in writing, then it is your word against the publisher or marketer. Once you sign a contract, you are bound to their regulations and procedures. Legally, you usually have 7 to 10 days to cancel the contract.
- Talk to your book consultant if any questions about the publishing process. Usually, they can advise about complimentary copies of your book(s) or marketing services offered. *Note – I find marketing services to be more expensive than publishing sometimes, depending on the service offered, so choose wisely. This seems true for self-publishing, as well as traditional publishing.
- Please note that once you publish a book, you are placed on a calling list. If it gets too annoying, you may want to ask the publisher to be removed from the list. If they say the list came from a website like Amazon, please ask to be connected to their customer service or a manager.
- Continue to market your book(s) online. Social media is a great way to advertise your book(s) online and very affordable. Shout my Book will market your book(s) on social media inexpensively. They will do as many books as you want daily or monthly (at a small fee, of course).
- Keep in contact with other writers. Seek a writer’s group or an organization for writers that meet monthly to discuss their books. This is an excellent opportunity to not only do some advertising, but to get advice from other writers.
- Keep getting your name out there – mail book markers, postcards or business cards to potential interested readers, like family, acquaintances or friends. This can get expensive with postage and takes time; however, it’s gets your name and title of your book(s) out to the mainstream public.
- Ask businesses (depending on the type of business) that know you if they would post a flyer of your book on their window. Usually, it is best if you are a customer or they’re acquainted with you.
- In retrospect, see if these businesses would let you market your book(s) through a book signing. You would be surprise. They might say yes.
- Keep hanging in there – never give up. Enjoy the writing process as you write that next “best seller” one day. Simply, just have fun with it.
There are many more suggestions, but I feel it would be too repetitious in words. This project started out as your idea, your creation and your book. It is your baby. When I publish a book, I feel like I have given birth to a new creation.
Please keep in touch and if you have any questions, I am here to help. I may not be able to answer all your questions, but I will attempt to find out the answer for you. In the meantime, have a wonderful week and hope to be reading your best-seller soon.
Whether it took weeks, months or even years to publish that long-awaited book, you spent long hours writing at the computer and sleepless nights to finish your book. Your days and time were filled with writing, proofreading, revising and correcting the final manuscript before submission to the publisher. What comes next? It usually takes two to three weeks to publish, depending on the publisher. This is a good time for you to look at marketing strategies to advertise your book(s). If you are well ahead of the game, you may have already planned a marketing strategy or a few before your book is published. If you are a sharp-shooter, you know the complexity of marketing strategies and planning beforehand.
Social media and online websites help, but more is needed. Blogging is also an excellent way to network and connect to the outside world. A good place to start is by word of mouth. Family members and friends will be interested, simply as they are connected to you. It is a good idea to give a few books away as gifts. This gives others an incentive to find interest in your book(s); it gives them a free invitation. If you are new to the publishing world and unfamiliar with marketing strategies, there are a variety of routes you can take. My suggestion is to ask the publisher if they offer a marketing service. If they do, they can advise which package best fits your needs. There are some other suggestions:
- There is great importance in connecting to the community and local residents. Advertising through book signings and sales at local book stores. This can include speaking at groups or organizations about your book(s). The more you get out in your community, the more you are recognized. Hence, the more readers you attain to increase book sales, your main focus at this point.
- Speaking at radio stations about your book(s). A drawback is that some people feel uncomfortable speaking publicly. A confident speaker will sell more than the shy speaker lacking in enthusiasm and articulation.
- Look at online campaign ads. Amazon and Ingram offer website ads. Ask your publisher if they have that particular marketing service. They are familiar with the marketing procedures of contacting various websites, not known to the general public.
- Place an ad in a local flyer or newspaper. The cost will depend on how much space you want. Ask for weekly or monthly discounts. Photos of the writer/author and book(s) are recommended.
- Send an article to the local newspaper about yourself, your writing experience and publications. Send a photo of yourself with the article. This can be done inexpensively.
- Look at magazine ads to advertise your book(s). You can buy space in a Writers’ Magazine. The cost usually depends on whether you select a full page or half a page. This includes the writer’s biography and publications.
- There are annual book fairs. Ask your publisher if they have a list of book fairs around the country. The Miami Book Fair in the springtime offers an opportunity for new or unknown writers/authors to display their books on their racks.
- There are social media packages available; however, you can advertise for free on most social media websites, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
- If you already have an author’s website, you can connect your blog to the website. Also included is information about the author, excerpts from the book(s) and price of each book. Ask your publisher if they can assist you with this marketing service.
- Some publishers may offer an international package, whereby your book is placed on their racks during their annual book fairs. There are drawbacks, however. If you are unable to travel, you have no way to monitor sales unless your book consultant monitors it for you. In addition, it is quite costly to advertise internationally.
- There are online videos of authors talking about their book(s). This gives the author a chance to market and advertise. Ask your publisher if they offer this marketing service.
- Media, meaning public television. This is very expensive and above most of writers/authors’ salaries. Unless you are a well-established or famous writer, this is probably the last alternative. Most media advertising starts at several thousand up and based on time (minutes or seconds).
Five years ago, I had no idea of marketing strategies, other than advertising online. I admit that writing was an easy process for me; yet, marketing was another thing. I had no concept of a marketing strategy to advertise my books. As I became more familiar with the publishing world, I gathered information on different marketing strategies and advertising. I can’t say one is better over the other. They are all good avenues to pursue. You may explore some marketing strategies before exploring others.
An important concept is to be recognized as an accomplished writer in your community. Book sales will increase as you gather more experience and knowledge. The old saying, “it is not what you know, but who you know” has some truth to it. You not only learn a valuable skill, you might find writing as a successful career. There are different fields of writing: screenwriting, free-lance, creative, poetic, literature, educational, self-help, general and research. The list goes on and on. The most important concept is to enjoy the writing process along the way and be happy of your accomplishments.
Last week, we looked at naming your book. The title is an important part in marketing and advertising your book. In addition, to promoting your book over the network. Each part is one step closer to creating your book and producing a finished product. This week, we will start by creating your plot, also called a storyline. A plot is simply the series of main events or sequence of events in the story. I believe there are two major issues defined: what you want to happen in the story and what you want to get across to readers. More so, it is the actual experience of writing that gives knowledge and better writing with each additional book written. I start out each story with two main questions: what do I want the reader to see (messages written between the lines) and how do I carry over the plot to present the characters in the story? While there are no definite guidelines written in concrete, it is wise to be prepared. I have added some suggestions in which to start your plot:
- It is important to start out describing to readers basic descriptions, such as events, location, surroundings or time period. You don’t need to be too wordy or obsessive with words; however, be rather explicit.
- Begin with either an Introduction or a Prologue describing where the story is taking place, main character(s), dates or time period, etc. This will initially describe what you are conveying to your readers. What are you trying to tell them? For example, if writing a historical novel, you may want to include some historical events as well.
- The Prologue or Chapter One can lead the storyline into the book. The emphasis here is on guiding the plot into an easier written manuscript. Often, that starts the rest of the story and makes the manuscript flow easier. The manuscript is the initial script you are writing for your book or novel. I will be discussing finalizing your manuscript in later weeks.
- Write down important dates, locations, events or names in the story to refer back to. If you have a photographic memory, you may be okay in this area.
- There are times you may want to use what I call fillers. These are parts of a script or a chapter that aren’t in sequence, but are used later on in the manuscript. For example, if using a trial scene in your book, you may want to write the scene beforehand and go back later to add it to a chapter.
- Sometimes, I find writing the ending or conclusion first is easier, then going back afterward to write the rest of the manuscript. It is a guideline to what I want to say and where I want the plot to go. There are exceptions to this. If you are a very organized person, you probably can write from beginning to ending in sequence with no trouble.
- Write the story with little or no other distractions. If you are prone to distractions, write at a time that best suits you. If you are a morning person, write solely in the morning. If you are an afternoon or evening person, adjust your time accordingly to write. Turn the apps, radio, stereo, dvd player, headphones and television off. There shouldn’t be any other noise in the room, except your fingers working at the keyboard.
- Allow yourself time to finish the story. As I mentioned last week, there is no maximum time to complete your book. I would say three to six months is a reasonable time to complete it. Allow more time if having professional editing done or an illustrator for children’s books. If you are good with the English language and proficient in writing, you are probably okay with self-editing instead.
Next week, I will be discussing general guidelines used by the publisher. I can only go by independent publishing. Traditional publishing would be a different ballgame. It is time-consuming and you do sign over copyrights of your written work(s). Self-publishing allows more control of your book.
I love the responses and feedback I have received so far. Please keep the posts coming. That is the difference between an average and a good writer. A great writer will share her/his experiences with others in order for them to learn. These were things I learned along the way – thus, no one taught me these or no course was sought on writing. It took five years and will probably take several more years to learn everything in the writing process. Hopefully, these tips will make it a little easier for new authors and writers.
I sent final approvals on interior galley today. The next steps are the final quality assurance and final content evaluations and then on to the printer. It is a working step-by-step process. Once I know when the book is online, I will let you know. Spread the word!
I am going to Ohio State University Medical Facility for 1-2 days to be administered a new drug in the LEMS Study. A travel companion is being arranged by the pharmaceutical company. Also, the program director is contacting my Neurologist to get my medical records sent to Ohio. Afterwards, I will wait a month and travel to Miami. The clinical study takes up to two weeks. This is where I am with the clinical study. No dates are known at this time. As long as they are working on something, that gives me hope for the future. It has been a long medical journey.
On the lighter note, my newest book, Saga of the Ages, has been sent to the publishers last week. Covers have been approved. Just finished editing the final Galley proof. Hope to have that finalized this coming week. I sound like a broken record, but please check Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites within the next two weeks for publication.
We are expecting rain in Atlanta today. The temperature is right at 70 degrees, with an overcast. It is partly cloudy; however, thunderstorms are expected to hit later this afternoon. The sun is peeking in and out. Our yards were filled last week with fallen trees from the previous thunderstorm. The men cutting the trees hit a cable, knocking Internet out for three days. Gee, I actually survived three days without the television and phone line too.
Other than that, I hope everyone has a good weekend. Hug your spouse and children, as well as all of your loved ones. You never know how long one has on earth. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers and potential fathers!
My newly released book, Glimpses of the Past; Heritage of the Old South, is available back online. I had to have it resubmitted due to a printing error. I am presently working on its sequel, Lingering Shadows. A story surrounding the devastation, tragedy and brutality of the Civil War, few historical novels have been written with such passion, love of family and country. You will not only cry a little, you will laugh with the author’s sense of humor and humanistic point of view.
Please place your order online today at http://www.authorhouse.com, http://www.elizabethaphilips.com, Amazon or Barnes & Nobles websites. In addition, you can click the icon in the left widget and it will take you to the website.
I am excited to announce that Glimpses of the Past; Heritage of the Old South has been released by the publishers today. It is already available online at Amazon in soft cover. Please check back on Barnes & Noble during the week. It will be available in soft cover, hard cover and e-Book (Kindle). Pricing varies according to website and free shipping with limited amount; 274 pages, an historical novel on events and dates of the American Civil War. Synopsis and description of the book:
Glimpses of the Past; Heritage of the Old South is an historical novel about the Old South during the Civil War. Few historical novels have presented the Old South in such a heartfelt manner with brutalities of the war.
The author brings tragedy, devastation and conflict to life in the characters. Families struggled to survive then. The war was significant to both the North and the South. The thresholds of the war are felt strongly even today.
The significant part of the main character was that he overcame the past to move forward in his life. Reminiscences of the past were less painful to him as he began to understand his purpose in life.
Read how a determined young man survived the Civil War days. Explore the depths of how determination and stamina helped him. Discover his secret of life’s accomplishments. Learn how he escaped the darkness within to grow beyond glimpses of the past.
Glimpses of the Past; Heritage of the Old South will be going to the printers sometime this week. It is down to the content evaluation. If it passes and approved, it will be sent to the printers. Few historical novels of the Civil War era have been written before with a heartfelt manner. Tragedies, love of family and patriotic duty are woven into the book. A must-read for historians and history bluffs. I will update when book goes to next stage, pricing and designs.
The technical problem online at Amazon is now fixed. Also, Shattered Dreams is available at Barnes & Noble online. The newest book should be added to my author website at http://www.elizabethaphilips.com within a few days for availability. I’m waiting on the publishers to get back in touch with me. You can also click left side widget at image, which takes you directly to Amazon.
Everyone, have a great weekend. I will be relaxing my little brain and watching some of British episodes, which I love. Chuckle. Peace, love and joy to all.