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Tag Archives: self-published

Getting into More Shuffles

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There is an over-saturation of self-published, or “indie authors.” I know this because I am one of them. Many are good and the changes in the publishing industry can be seen as a blessing for us getting our books out into the world. However, there is an unfortunate number of these authors who really aren’t any good, like the train wrecks we see audition for American Idol and wonder how they could possibly think they had a chance. There are also some who have great potential, but they lack polish and editing. These last two types are bringing us all down, and the good ones are getting lost in the shuffle. People are afraid to take a chance on an unknown because they may have been burned by one already.

It’s all about who you know, the supporters you have, and self-promoting savvy, apparently. I am sadly lacking in these areas, and I’m shy about my work when I am face to face with people. I imagine most writers are introverts, as I am. After all, that is the nature of writing. We tend to be great at expressing ourselves through the written word because we are more internal thinkers. If we were extroverts, we probably wouldn’t take the time to write it down, but would just blurt it all out verbally. Of course, I know there are exceptions, but you get my point, right? So I need to get more extroverts on my side.

When I published my first book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, on Kindle 2 1/2 years ago, using the free giveaway option was a great way to get a book noticed, get readers, get reviews, and get more sales. I tried this a few times more recently and didn’t notice any new traffic or increase in sales. I certainly got no new reviews from it. Why not? So many authors are just giving it away now in the same desperation I had in getting noticed, that even in that, we get lost in the shuffle.

I have been published exclusively through Amazon in order to take advantage of the KDP benefits such as the free giveaways and the countdown deals, but I have come to realize that if I’m going to get lost in the shuffle anyway, perhaps I just need to get into more shuffles.

Every 90 days, my books were set to auto-renew into KDP, but I was able to recently rescue book 2 from the exclusivity trap. Book 1 will linger there until mid-April. I have now made book 2 available through Smashwords and Nook as well as Amazon, and book 1 will join as soon as it can. It’s a bit awkward to only be able to offer the second book in a series through these two new formats, but I have hopes of more shuffles.

 

Author-Friend Etiquette

What the heck is the proper etiquette between authors and their friends (or family)?

friend support

When I first wrote my book and put it out there for reading, I was asking everybody if they’d read it because I was excited. It turns out, most friends are not nearly as excited about the book as the author is. Some don’t even have the desire to read the book, much to the author’s chagrin. But hey, not everybody likes to read books at all. It’s a sad truth I cannot fathom, but have learned to accept (though I grieve for these people and I say a prayer for their souls).

Putting people on the spot was getting awkward.  I even had one friend who confessed she could not read my book because she couldn’t get past my female protagonist having a boy’s name. At least this friend was honest, and I respect that. Instead of getting my feelings hurt and taking the lack of interest personally, I figured if my friends read the book they would tell me about their experiences after the fact, so I would no longer pester them (well, that’s how part of me made peace, while the other part still feels true friends should be supportive and read it even if they aren’t book lovers). I did get some great responses and support this way.

Then there are the ones who I think read the book, but I’ve heard nothing from them about it. This is the other awkward part.  At first, I figured this meant they did not like the book and just didn’t want to have to tell me. I guess I relate to this because I hate hurting people’s feelings and would personally probably avoid the discussion if I were in that situation.  It’s like when people have babies.  Most people will fawn all over a baby because it’s what’s expected, but I cannot be the only one who thinks they don’t usually get cute for at least a few months…maybe (and some never do). I’m not going to sell out and tell a mother her baby is cute if it’s a blatant lie and I think they all look a bit like big-headed aliens.  Instead, I will find a positive aspect and focus on that, leaving out the rest. I know- I’m awful.  Whatever. At least I won’t lie.

But then I found that some of these people had not finished reading the book.  Sure, I like to finish a book as quickly as possible, but especially for the non-aggressive readers, or the seldom ever readers, this is acceptable.  At least they have let me know their intentions.  I appreciate that. At least one of these turned out to be excited to read the sequel and get back into reading.

I also found that some are reading and enjoying the book, but just haven’t bothered to tell me.  I know this because I overheard a friend telling someone else what a good book I had written, but she never mentioned her thoughts to my face. Could be she forgot.  Could be it’s awkward for the friend as well. Could be my friends don’t know if it will make me feel awkward, or a gazillion other weird possibilities. Mostly, I think it’s just unclear what the proper etiquette should be between an author and her friends. I know I’ve supported other writer friends because I understand the need, but maybe some are just shy about it.  Whatever it is, I’ll keep on plugging and hope I don’t have to hold any babies.

Freebies!

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I love free stuff.  It makes me smile.  I want to make others smile by giving away free stuff, namely my book.

Today (8/30/13) through Monday (9/2/13) I am giving away my ebook.

A few people thought my timing on this was weird because I just launched my book in print after having the ebook available for a year now.  Why would I do this?  Honestly, I just want people to read my book, love it, and tell others about it.  Also, people are more likely to risk reading something unknown if it’s free than they are to buy something unfamiliar to them, right?  So, the freebie ebook giveaway is my sneaky way to get noticed, have people give a free book and chance, and then let them decide if a paper book (which always has a higher overhead cost) is worth adding to their libraries.  It’s a way to check it out before investing.

Personally, I think Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages is a well-written, well-voiced book, but I might be biased since I wrote it an all.  So…I am asking others to read it and hopefully add reviews to my page as well.  Help me get noticed.

Pass along the news and spread the link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008TT8Z6K

Maybe Not so Ordinary

Last August, I published a tween/young adult novel, Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages.  Then the school year started and I did little to promote it.  Now that it is summer and I no longer have the doom of an impending school year ahead (since I quit my day job), I am working towards getting the word out again on my book.  And I am working on the sequel.  The protagonist, Drew,  must move on and join those who have lived in the misery of being a freshman.

Who would like this book?

Who wouldn’t?

Seriously, the target audience is middle school girls; however, many adults have read it and enjoyed reliving their awkward middle school moments as well.  It’s a humorous tale of a girl figuring out who she really is, and it’s set at the cusp between the ’80s and ’90s, so if you enjoy nostalgia, give it a try.

I’m also trying out a new summer pricing of $2.99, down from $4.99.  This is far less expensive than most alternative forms of “entertainment” out there these days (anybody attempt to go to a movie any time recently?), so take a sneak peak, buy it, read it, and tell all your friends about it, especially if they have preteen girls.  I want to build up the proper age of followers as well.

 

If You’re Thankful and You Know It

I just ran a three-day free promotion on my book.  It was both amazing and frightening as I watched the number of giveaways climb higher than I had expected. I was like a nervous mother watching my baby take her first steps (or so I imagine, since I don’t have any kids and all). So far the number of my actual sales has only been about 10 percent of what I just gave away for free!  It’s like I just gave away part of myself, and I’m not sure if I’m getting anything back yet or not.  Scary!  Either I’m really stupid and just forfeit some hard earned and much needed cash, or this was a great idea and now that so many people have my book, they’ll all tell their friends and write up great reviews on my book’s page on Amazon.

So, here’s hoping the second is true, and that is why I need your help.  If you are one of the people who took advantage of my book’s free promotion and you have enjoyed the book (or once you have a chance to read it, if you enjoy it), please say thanks to me by going to my book’s page and hitting the “like” button at the top. Then, if you loved the book, please write up a quick review.  This will help me make some actual sales.

In case you somehow missed it…  My book’s page at Amazon’s Kindle Store

I wrote the book because I love to write, but I would also love to spread the word more and make some sales.  I know the book is amazing, but I need other people to know it as well.  Word of mouth, Facebook shares, and good book reviews are some ways you can say, “Thanks for sharing your hard work and awesome book with me, Terri.”

And speaking of Facebook, if you aren’t my fan yet, go like my page now.  I want so much for people to like me, to really, really like me!

Thank you for your support.

It’s My Book and I’ll Brag if I Want to

Self publishing= self promoting= a difficult equation (I hate equations anyway because I hate math).

My book was finished over two years ago, but as a teacher, I found the only time I really had to put into the process of trying to publish it came in the summer, and so each summer I would research and see that trends were constantly changing.  I know this is usually true of most anything, but technology is changing the publishing world so quickly that I just couldn’t keep up with what I would need to do anymore, so I risked self publishing. I figured it was the only way I’d ever actually have time to publish my masterpiece.

Now I have to self promote, and that seems even harder.  I use Facebook, this blog, and word of mouth, because that’s really all I have.  The thing is, I know my book is awesome.  I’m not usually the type to seriously brag, but why not do it when I’m sure of something?  Yes, I’m biased, but it’s true.  The book is funny, and real (well, it’s fiction, but it’s realistic), and covers a time in life we’ve all had to survive…middle school.  I’ve also been told by some people who know me that reading the book is like listening to me talk, which means I managed to capture my “voice” in the book, something of which I am proud.

Cover art by the talented Sydney Schake

As of now, my book is only available through Amazon’s Kindle Store.  So, of course I get people who say things like, “That’s cool, but wouldn’t you like to actually have it published- you know in a real book?”  (…as if my book is the Pinocchio of the book world). Yep, that hurts.  They might as well be saying, “You know you didn’t really get your book published.  I wasn’t planning to read it anyway, but I just really wanted to pop your bubble in case you were proud of your accomplishment.”  Thanks for the support people!  How’d the book you wrote do?  Oh yeah, that’s right, you didn’t write one!  Stop tinkling in my Lucky Charms!

Yes, I would love to open up a real printed copy of my book, press my nose up to the pages and breathe in that new book aroma, and to fan the pages against my skin like feathers.  I also have this secret dream that maybe someone will just happen to come across my book and I will get an offer for it to be printed.  It could happen, right?  Of course, there’s also the print on demand setup I’m thinking about doing.  It’s still not quite the same, but some people told me they’re holding out because they don’t want an electronic copy.

For now, I really just want to promote my book as much as possible.  Most of the people I know who are actually going to read it already have, so I need help from the outside.  You can help by checking out my book (teaser included on Amazon page) and “like” my Facebook author page. 

“If you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed. This isn’t a ‘self-help’ book to boost your friend and/or money making abilities. In fact, I’ll teach you how to NOT throw the perfect party, how to NOT land the boyfriend of your dreams, and how to NOT be popular.”

Set in the early 1990’s, in this story the author retells the experiences of Drew Hotchner, an “extraordinarily ordinary” girl through Drew’s possibly wiser and honest adult self. Drew struggles not only with the unavoidable awkwardness of being in middle school, but also with having to start over again her entire social world after she experiences the culture shock of moving across the country. Through her humorous adventures in trespassing, accidental theft, and throwing punches at her best friend, the relatable Drew learns who she really is. And if you can admit you are also extraordinarily ordinary, just as Drew claims to be, that we all just want to know who we really are, and that sometimes we surprise ourselves along the way, this might be the book for you.

How Do You Like Me Now?

I am now officially on the verge of fame or infamy.

I finished writing my first book two years ago.  Then I worked on editing it and researched publishing it (sort of).  The world of publishing is so confusing these days and I was overwhelmed, so I really didn’t do much at all, but sat on the book for two years.  Fear of the unknown and rejection kept my book buried in the files of my computer.

No more of that.  I yanked that proverbial bull by its horns and I self published the darn book yesterday!  Was that the right move?  Who knows.  I could have searched years for an agent and still had to figure out how to self promote it with no guarantee that anybody would buy it.  Electronic publishing seems to be the wave of the future, and so I published it with kindle direct publishing through Amazon.  When I checked this morning, I’d already had two people buy it (and my I don’t think my mom even knows it’s up there yet)!

Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages is really geared towards preteen readers, but if you grew up in the 80’s/90’s cusp, enjoy sarcasm and humor, give it a read.  It’s fiction based on my middle school reality, but in case you knew me then, very few characters are actually modeled after anyone specific, and I love making stuff up or exaggerating it.  That’s storytelling.

Curious?  You can check it out here and even read the first 10% for free.  If you like it, buy it, read it, and tell your friends all about it.  And just in case you’re thinking, “I don’t own a kindle, so forget it!” you can download a free kindle app for your Mac, your PC, or pretty much anything that’s an i or “smart”.

Happy reading, and please let me know what you think.  You can also “like” my author page on Facebook at Terri Klaes Harper (the author page).