When really good writing advice comes my way, here's my chance to share it with anyone who happens upon my site.
She has written extensively about her writing experiences, and offers strategic ways authors can make their mark in the writing world.
Used with permission [Note: She wanted it known that she is NOT anti-traditional publishing. She just wants it understood that traditional publishing isn't the only game in town anymore, and writers have more literary outlets than ever before.]
> I just checked my results on the relaunched Dark Side of the Moon on Kindle. In the past week I sold more copies than I have in two years with it out on traditional publishing. I'm not doing anything really technical or exotic. Everything I'm doing could have been done by my publisher. Now, my publisher is smart and has experience with publishing. I think in many ways she did everything right for old style bookselling. She wanted book blurbs to be like back of the book or book jacket summaries. We did blog tours and promoted each others books on our blogs. We did everything, except the most important, optimizing for the on site search engines. And I was right there with them. I did the whole review copy stuff. I created blurbs that sold the book without thinking about how people might actually find that book page. I did everything "old school" to reach a few buyers, but did nothing to reach the masses.
> I'm not blaming anyone. I'm just saying we have to stop thinking about selling books the old way. Even if a few people read a blog and like the review, how many will click through looking for that book. And what about the day after and the day after that. You can't have a major blog presence every day. I can't depend on people hearing about my book and going to look for it particularly. The only way to generate a significant number of people to do that would be to buy a lot of advertising.
> We just have to rethink the approach. Some thoughts that are circling in my brain. Not sure they are worth anything, but food for thought.
> 1. For ebooks, if you are not one of the top 10 in your genre, you need to keep the price low. I know publishers may need to push it a bit higher, but even they can reduce most prices into the 3 - 4 dollar range and for self-publishers bringing it even lower works wonders. Authors also need to realize getting 100 50 cent royalties is going to be better than getting 10 2 dollar ones. People simply are not going to spend five dollars or more on an author they don't know, especially not in ebook format, which they "know" costs nothing to produce.
> 2. We have to shift our focus from people browsing in a bookstore to find a book, to them searching online. Unless you are in the top 30 or so writers in your genre, it is unlikely you will get a contract with a major publisher. That means most of your sales will be online and not in a brick and mortar store, even the print versions. A few small press books might find their way into a store here and there, but nationally and internationally, that just isn't going to be the way it works. We have to work on descriptions so they not only give the reader an idea of the plot, but will also be accessible to search engines, especially the in-store ones that all the online book dealers have. That means being sure the genre and subgenre is mentioned frequently along with any other keywords people might be looking for. In other words, we have to treat our book blurbs not from the point of view of a bookstore, but from that of a search engine and treat our book pages not like aisles in a book store, but like websites.
> 3. We have to be willing to give away our books to introduce ourselves to people who don't know our writing.
> 4. We have to have a healthy humility about our own popularity. By that I mean, just because I write it doesn't mean anyone will read it outside of my family, friends and a few die hard fans. That's about 50-60 people. I can't sell to them I have to reach those outside of that core group. My name means nothing to most science fiction or cozy mystery fans, so my price has to be lower and I have to stand out more in the search rankings than someone with more name recognition.
> 5. Publishers are also going to have to rethink their royalty structures. My contract was good, but I was reading the writers market the other day and most of the publishers were offering 10-15% royalties. Authors don't have to take that to sell their books. Low to Mid-list authors used to take just about anything to be able to get their work out to the public. With traditional publishers having a stranglehold on bookstore sales, as long as everyone offered about the same royalty structure, the authors didn't have much choice. Now, they do. They can take their readership and go independent.
> 6. Publishers are going to have to get web savvy. Some are, but others barely know how to build a website much less how to optimize their sites to draw readers looking for a specific type of literature. Of course, publishers have a bit more of an advantage. They still make money on books that only sell a copy or two at a time so they don't need to optimize every book page to make money, but if they don't authors will leave.
> 7. Authors have to sell the brand and not just individual books. I don't even mean the author's name. I mean we have to market thinking not only about one book at a time. We have to think about ways that all our books can be marketing platforms for all our other books. In some ways, speculative fiction and mystery writers have been ahead of the curve on this. We have frequently written series, trilogies, etc and included the names of the other books in the series in our print volumes. With electronic books, we can go one step further and include links. We can use loss leaders like free giveaways to entice people unsure about our writing to give it a try.
> These are just some thoughts. I don't know how absolute they are (regardless of how I sound in them). But i definitely think that publiishers and writers both have to seriously rethink how to sell books in an age when the majority of them will be sold almost exclusively online. BTW, a lot of this is not hard to learn. It took me maybe two hours to learn how to optimize for the Kindle search engine. I just read books by people who had a good Kindle track record.
Author--Ellen C Maze
Book--RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER
New York Times Bestselling author Beth Rider has a problem. Jack Dawn, a supernatural monster belonging to a race of vampire-like beings called Rakum, has taken exception to her novels and has vowed to hunt down and kill the young writer; punishing anyone who gets in his way. In the face of peril and certain death, Beth along with a few Rakum who sympathize with her position carries an unpopular Truth into the darkest places of man’s soul. Who will live and who will die is always up for grabs, but Beth knows where she is headed, and she wants to bring as many of the Rakum with her as possible.
web site link: http://www.rabbitnovel.com
Also, I have future projects that are currently in the pipeline. I'll keep you posted as to their release date
When the Sky Parted (this is the working title, for now) -- Everything Commander Yamane has worked to preserve stands on the brink of victory or annihilation in the stunning final chapter of humanity’s desperate fight for survival. Faced with the imminent arrival of another DERAVAN Armada, he rescues Earth’s last few survivors and heads back to Antara with what’s left of his fleet. There the nightmare begins again when an even greater number of enemy ships are poised to destroy both civilizations in one fell swoop. But just before all hope is lost, Yamane discovers what he believes is the key to stopping the Deravans – by facing them alone. Despite the objections of everyone he knows, he willingly flies to the Deravan home world, where he must face the leader of their people, an alluring, though malevolent being known as Abbadon. Will this seemingly foolhardy act be the means of ultimate victory or will the most powerful adversary ever known finally achieve what it has sought since the beginning of time: unquestioned domination of the galaxy. [If When the Sky Fell is successful enough, Silver Leaf Books has already made a committment to publish the sequel]
American Midnight – Tania Peters had it all—a loving, supportive family, a strong relationship with God, and a future that seemed all but set. But when her mother is killed in a tragic accident while on a missionary trip in Ecuador, her world comes crashing down around her. As a result, she abandons her Christian faith, and adopts a live for today philosophy. Throwing herself into the arms of her boyfriend, Tania seeks all that society says will bring satisfaction and meaning into her life. But she soon realizes this is a lie, and begins to fall under the spell of the Unity Party, a political movement that has swept Robert Allen into the White House. But such allegiances come at a price: complete and unquestioned loyalty to the Party. Despite all the “good” the Party has done for society, Tania’s devotion to the movement is pushed to the limit when her own father is arrested for his participation in a terrorist bombing that took place in his home town of Midian. Knowing he is being railroaded for a crime he didn't commit, Tania is forced to decide between her past and her future. When she herself is arrested for the same crime, Tania rediscovers her long lost faith, and recommits herself to serving God again, even though she realizes such a decision could cost everything she holds dear, including her life. [Good News! Silver Leaf Books has committed to publishing this novel in early 2010]
After the Cross -- At the old library in Istanbul, Turkey, a discovery is made during an archeological dig that is poised to rock the world—a hand-written letter that purports to reveal the location of the true cross of Jesus. Reclusive billionaire, Vladimir Zarco, will spare no expense to make certain the cross never sees the light of day, while at the same time, Medieval linguists, Colton Foster and Mallory Windam, uncover clues they hope will reveal the cross’ location. The question is who will get to it first? [Brandon and I have finished this novel and are currently shopping it around to different publishers]
The Imperium Saga Anthology -- Clifford B. Bowyer has created a richly detailed world that takes the reader on a mythic journey like none you have ever known before. Follow the trials and tribulations of Warlord Braksis, Master Pierce, Zoldex, Elastriel, Rindahl, King Menedes, plus a host of other characters in this new anthology that will forever impact the lives of those who live in the Seven Kingdoms. And for the first time, Clifford has asked other authors to join him on his journey through the land of Pargarthinab, and write many of the stories found in this anthology. My story is entitled, “The Coming of the Mage.” [Clifford has set a tentative release date for the anthology in 2010]
Over the Fallen -- I will be co-authoring this book with Dave Phillips, who served as a member of the Presidential Honor Guard from 1974-77. It is our intention to share his stories and the stories of those who served their country with distinction, specifically, guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns (commonly referred to as the the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), participated in funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, and served at the behest of the President for special ceremonial duties at the White House. I promise the experiences we include in this book will be nothing short of extraordinary. [We hope to finish this book some time in 2010, and then start shopping it around to different publishers]