Monday, February 28, 2011

Industry Changes! Which Way Do I Go?

With all of the changes in the industry - the shift to eBooks, bookstores dying, etc. - it’s difficult for a writer to know what path to take. Look for a publisher? Look for an agent? Or self-publish?

I decided to ask an author in each one of those positions who has achieved (or will hopefully achieve) success with her books. Below are the responses from an author with an agent & big publisher, an author with an independent publisher, and an author who self-published.

With all of the changes in the industry - the shift to eBooks, bookstores dying, etc. - what are the advantages of an author in your position?

From Elana Johnson, an agented author with Simon & Schuster, whose first book comes out this summer:

With all the changes, I’m glad I have an agent and a big publisher to help me every step of the way.

My agent fights for every dollar from any kind of sale, whether it be a digital copy, a physical copy, or the rights for audio, to come to me. I think that’s a huge advantage, because it’s something I don’t have to think about. I don’t have to be “the heavy,” and negotiate percentages. That’s her job, and she does it well. My time is freed up for writing my next project.

With a larger publisher, the ability to reach more people is increased. Simon & Schuster has a built-in network of librarians, booksellers, bloggers, teachers, and readers. Those are markets that I could attempt to break into myself, but with a track record like S&S’s, I don’t have to.

Of course, I’m still organizing marketing strategies. Every author should. But with an agent and a larger publisher, I also have their wealth of knowledge to supplement whatever I do.

Elana Johnson's debut novel, POSSESSION, will be published by Simon & Schuster on 6-7-11. She runs a personal blog on publishing, is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog and The League of Extraordinary Writers, and is a WriteOnCon organizer.

From Talli Roland, an author with independent publisher, Prospera Publishing, whose second book comes out later this year:

As an author published by a small press, I’m in an ideal position to capitalize on the growing market trend towards e-books. Smaller presses don’t have the long lead times of traditional publishers, so they can get a product to market much faster. With e-books and their unlimited reach, the major drawback of independent publishers – distribution – doesn’t exist. Also, small presses have much more flexibility when it comes to pricing e-books. They don’t have the large operational costs of larger publishers, so they can afford to be more competitive. Finally, small presses care if their titles are performing, and if they’re not, they work to fix it. When the cover of my debut novel The Hating Game wasn’t hitting the right target market on Kindle, my publisher had a new one designed and displayed, within a day. In my opinion, small presses provide the right mix of quality control and quick-wittedness.

Talli Roland’s debut novel The Hating Game is out now as an e-book with Prospera Publishing; paperback coming next month! Her next title, Watching Willow Watts, will be released later this year.

From L.J. Sellers, a best-selling author of multiple books, who chose the path of self-publishing:

The biggest advantage for the indie author is the speed to market. For example, mid last year I had three completed novels scheduled (but not yet contracted) to be published by a small press in late 2011, 2012, and 2013. I decided waiting that long to publish them was not in my best interest. Readers were excited about my stories and wanted more.

I was able to hire editors, a cover designer, and a formatter, and release all three books in a matter of months. Now I’m earning money from each of them that goes toward my bills. Which in turn, gives me time to write more novels, instead of having to freelance to get by.

The second main advantage is that all the royalties come to me, so again, I’m able to earn a living from novels for the first time in my career. And last, as an indie author, I’m more motivated to do the necessary promotion everyday because I can directly witness, and benefit from, the results of my efforts. Leaving my publisher to go indie was best thing I’ve ever done!

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, and Dying for Justice. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene and Spinetingler magazines, and all four are on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has two standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes. Visit L.J. at her website, blog, and Amazon author page.

Thank you Elana, Talli, and L.J.!

Which path will you choose? Bookstores are dying. EBooks are taking over. Gatekeepers no longer control all. The Internet levels the playing field. An agent gets you a better deal but working with a smaller publisher can be more personable. Which way will I achieve more success?

It still all comes down to promotion - and your personal goals!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Sillies

Almost more silly than one weekend can hold...

funny pictures - Sanity runs from my family......

funny pictures - Friends suspected  Rachel of stuffing her rack, but couldn't prove it...

funny pictures - YOU PERPLEX ME

funny pictures - Comin to Ameyrika fer oppertoni...opooturna...fer da mowses.


funny pictures - ok, klass, ai gonna poke da goggie nao . . . saftee goggles on ebrywun!

Funny Pictures - Surprise Giraffe

funny pictures - I love you, couch.   You understand me.

funny pictures - HANGOVER

funny pictures - Chester  got totally confused  while  executing  a  Ministry  of  Silly Walks  maneuver.

funny pictures - Wurld Domination???? Buttz......Buttz...... iz  jus  gots  here.

Tune in Monday for some very special guests - Talli Roland, Elana Johnson, and L. J. Sellers!! Hear what these ladies have to say about the eBook revolution...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Much is Too Much Promotion?

A post by Sue Ann Jaffarian on Inkspot posed the question when does self-promotion become self poison? While Sue Ann didn’t have any definite answers, there were many in the comments. Earlier this week, Elizabeth Spann-Craig touched upon over-promotion when she discussed promoting oneself rather than one’s books.

How much is too much for you?

For me, when every post and/or comment mentions the author’s book/product/service, then it’s too much. That’s why I don’t mention my own books very often. (Although recently several people commented that they didn’t realize I’d written so many books, so maybe I should mention that fact now and then?)

Authors pour so much effort into their work and it does consume a large portion of our lives. However, there’s more to our existence than just our books! They are but one aspect of our world.

So, when is it too much for you? What turns you off?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Greetings Crusaders and an Introduction for All

I’d like to welcome all fellow crusaders! I’ve been overwhelmed with new followers, which launched me past the 400 mark this weekend. If you are a new follower, please leave a comment, as I’ve been unable to follow several of you through Google Friend Connect!

For all my fellow crusaders and newer followers, let me give you a brief introduction. (If you want the long version, read more about me or my books by clicking on the pages above.)

I am a professional speaker and member of the National Speaker Association. (Nickname - Spunk on a Stick) I do motivational talks & classes and instructional seminars in the area of promotion. My professional speaker site is Spunk on a Stick

I’m the author of six books. Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! is based on two of my seminars and includes chapters from six other authors. Last year saw the release of book five in my YA series, The Circle of Friends. This five-book series is inspirational and uplifting, and it follows five friends as they learn to overcome. Since the series is now complete, I recently moved The Circle of Friends site here to Blogger.

I’m a professional photographer, and my work includes weddings and portraits to magazines and even an album cover. My specialty is B&W and all photos used here (with the exception of the LOL Cats) are mine. I also partake in several other business ventures.

In my personal life, I’ve been married for almost twenty years - no kids - and own two cats named Rocko & Spunky, who replaced Calvin & Hobbes. I am a Christian, a vegan, and a roller coaster fanatic. Originally from Oregon, I now live in North Carolina.

My next book project is a teen version of Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! However, after six books, I’ve experienced total burnout. I’ve done some research and formed an outline, but that’s it. I’m also at a crossroads with my YA work - my writing thus far has been positive and I don’t want to write salacious, edgy, supernatural stuff just to conform to trends. So, I may not set foot into that genre again…

The focus of this blog is book promotion and other aspects of the publishing and speaking industry. (So, you probably won’t see me participating in the Crusader writing challenges.) I would like to write again and hope to find inspiration to dive back in and complete my non-fiction book. I’m also happy to help any writer on his or her author journey. Spunky is here to help!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Birthday Post

Yes, it’s my birthday today. I missed being a Valentine’s baby by 26 & 1/2 hours. I’d tell you what year I’m celebrating, but you wouldn’t believe me. Let’s just say I remember men walking on the moon for the very first time…

It’s a really busy week, too. Three speaking engagements, five clients, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday right in the middle. Guess every birthday can’t fall on a Saturday, right? However, I did get a really great gift from my husband - the new iPhone 32 w/4G! It's so neat. My old one was a six-year old basic model. Yes, it was sad.

My mother’s birthday is in a couple weeks and I decided to make her a picture book with old photos. Since there’s nothing quite like embarrassing myself on my own birthday, thought I’d share a few of the photos I scanned. Hold all laughter and chortling until the end…

This is my father and I at the Oregon Coast. We're bundled, so probably summer. LOL

My mom and I at Yesllowstone National Park.

I went to see the Mercury Cougar, and while you couldn't touch the big cat, I got to pet her cub.

Graduation day with my buddies Violet and Marlene!

Halloween with my best friend, Dale. No idea what I was supposed to be...

Okay now you may giggle and snort!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sharing the Love

The Words Crafter at The Rainy Day Wanderer gave me the Write Hard Award! I’m to pass this on to writers who inspire me:

Terry Lynn Johnson inspires me with her innocent enthusiasm.

Jai at Jai Joshi’s Tulsa Tree inspires me with her amazing storytelling abilities.

I was recently contacted by Overstock and a chance to pass along a discount code to my readers. I was hesitant until I discovered the bookshelves page!

Wood Bookcase/Display Cabinet - The unique design of this bookcase gives you the option of positioning it vertically or horizontally. Is that not cool?

Walnut Five-tier Ladder Shelf
I’ve always wanted one of these. And a house with that much wallspace…

Coffee Bean Book Case
This one is just too cute for words! Yes, I have a thing about bookshelves. One can never have too many.

Triple Width Oak Media Tower
I had to include this because we actually own it! Yes, we have WAY too many CDs…

And where’s the best place to read but in a comfy Hammock.
Cool Lagoon Hammock
I really liked this one. I’ll take the house it’s in, too!

The discount code is: 121745, good for 10% off Overstock products (excluding movies, books, and electronics). This discount code never expires, however, it can only be used once per email address.

202234 - free shipping promo code for electronics.

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!