Friday, June 29, 2012

Smashwords Partnering with CA Libraries, the Google Tablet, and Richard Russo Says No To E-books

Some really big news came out yesterday!

This from Paid Content:

The largest network of libraries in California is close to striking an E-book deal with Smashwords. They want to purchase the top 10,000 titles and make them available in their 220 libraries.

“Smashwords and Califa will collaborate to create local library publishing portals that will allow patrons to publish and distribute ebooks through Smashwords for acquisition and listing by their local library.”

While distribution to online bookstores is easy for small publishers and self-publishers, library distribution is not. This would make a huge impact on those companies and individuals. Hopefully other states would follow suit.
This from Economic Times:

Google Inc. will soon unveil a tablet designed to compete with Amazon. It’s been rumored that Google was creating one to compete with the iPad, but an unnamed executive said the device would target the Kindle Fire audience instead. 
And this from BBC:

Author Richard Russo, a Pulitzer Prize winner, refuses to allow his next book to be sold as an E-book. He claims “Interventions” is a tribute to the printed book.

“’Readers can't survive on e-books alone,’ he told the Associated Press.

‘The rapid rise of e-books and online sales of printed books pose threats to bookstores, the book publishing industry and the rise of new authors,’ he continued.”

Some interesting developments!

Will you benefit from the California library deal with Smashwords?

Do you think the Google tablet can compete with the Kindle Fire? (Which currently has 4% of the tablet market share.)

Do you agree with Russo that the rise of E-books poses a threat to the rise of new authors?

And since I forgot an image on Monday, you get two today:

Painted Faerie Moth

Attack of the Butterfly

Monday, June 25, 2012

Conflict and Drive

Every book needs conflict and something to drive the story forward.

Often this is found within our characters. Their past haunts them. They suffer from shortcomings. They struggle to achieve a dream. All of these things not only add depth to a story, they can be the core plotline. Internal conflict is my favorite and I’ve used it in all five of my books:

Book I - Lori dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in swimming and is driven by this goal.

Book II - Sarah suffers from a poor self-image and struggles to find her value and place in life.

Book III - James is haunted by a past of abuse and fights to rise above the damage and be a better person.

Book IV - Mike is consumed by guilt over two incidents and strains to learn to forgive himself.

Book V - Heather battles a selfish attitude, floundering in her attempts to form meaningful relationships.

What internal conflicts do your characters face?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Joy of Teaching Others.

Thursday I was at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC, doing my Publishing 101 seminar. It was a full house (50 people signed up and 50 people attended - what are the odds?) which mean a lot of energy and writers eager to learn.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. No matter how many times I do this seminar, I always gain new insight through the questions asked by attendees. While I can’t begin to answer every question, often it gives me insight as to the direction and interests of writers today. They often ask about things I haven’t even considered. That makes me want to go find the answers. And I learn even more.

They say to truly learn something, you need to teach it.

Now I am really excited to finish up my publishing and promoting book! Does anyone else get this excited when you teach someone else?

And your photo of the day:
 Now that would be a great haunted house!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nook Overtakes Fire and a Breakthrough

The Nook Tablet surpasses the Kindle Fire in web traffic:

According to the Chitika report, which is based on as impressions, Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet overtook the Kindle Fire for the first time ever the first half of June.

Of course, to put this in perspective, Nook users accounted for 0.85%, Fire’s users 0.71%, and iPad users 91.7%.

It’s all relative!

Read the full article at Computerworld

Fellow author and friend, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs is celebrating with a party today - and the gift is for YOU. Monday and Tuesday only, June 18th & 19th, you can get his first book, Breakthrough, for free at Amazon.

Good luck, Stephen!

And your photo of the day...


Friday, June 15, 2012

E-Book Sales Predicted to Hit 50% by 2016

This was in the news yesterday at Paid Content:

“New data from Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook projects that e-books will make up 50 percent of the U.S. trade book market by 2016.”

That is less than four years away! Book sales in general will remain steady though:

“…thinks that while total spending on print trade books will decline, the e-book market will be growing fast enough by 2013 to offset those declines.”

How many people are now reading e-books?

“…estimates that ‘around 30 percent of adults had at least one portable reading device [an e-reader or tablet] in the first quarter of 2012.’”

Do you see that happening in just four years? How many of you own an e-reading device now?

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Spin on Book Spin by C. Hope Clark

Today I welcome author C. Hope Clark with her tips on selling books!


By C. Hope Clark

I was asked recently what I do to sell books. What don't I do is more like it. My recent release, Lowcountry Bribe: A Carolina Slade Mystery, is traditionally published via Bell Bridge Books, but I also self-published a book, The Shy Writer, several years ago that's still selling.

What I do to sell books is no different for one book over the other. The only difference is getting the book in the readers' hands. No bookstores were involved in The Shy Writer - just the publisher Booklocker and Amazon. I sold the books from my website. Lowcountry Bribe, however, has the force of a publisher behind it, and I'm finding it a little easier with that distribution advantage involved.

Regardless, the burden is on you to make sales happen. In essence, the tricks that worked for me are the following:

1. Post a regular presence online. I started as editor for FundsforWriters newsletter 14 years ago; however, today I include my fiction product in the weekly deliveries. No, you don't have a big newsletter, but you can. Or you can do something different. What's important is to have a consistent, steady presence where people expect you. It could be a blog post 1-5 days per week or a newsletter like mine. It could be a podcast once every couple of weeks. However it's done, keep just putting yourself out there. Advertise it in your email signature and everywhere you appear online, on your cards, on postcards, everywhere. It's called establishing a home base, and people go there to find you.

2. Appear where people want you. I've had a horrendous time with small book stores. Some are not nice while others are so sweet you want to put in your pocket and take them home. Deal with those with a positive attitude only. It's hard enough out here promoting without that negative energy. Don't feel you've failed if your local store declines your offer. Move on.

3. Agree to personal appearances. I'm not talking conferences. I'm talking book clubs, writers groups, and little pockets of people in libraries, bookstores or even their homes. That word-of-mouth magic is marvelous. These people get excited about you. The fact you gave up your time to spend a couple hours with them is remarkably charismatic. Sell eight books? Expect them to speak to others and sell at least eight more due to their accolades about you.

4. Answer every single email about your book within 24 hours. Seriously, this makes a difference. Personalize it and let them know you care about them as readers. Use their names. Thank them.

5. Write articles. Include your book in the bio of every article or blog post you publish. If you can cover a topic related to your book, do so, but even if the topic is about something unrelated, include the book in the bio. You reach many more people in one issue of a magazine than you do in an entire year on the road with book promotion out of the trunk of your car. Keep putting articles out there. Over and over. Then list them on your blog/website. Mention them on Twitter and Facebook. I try to post a guest blog somewhere at least twice a week.

I do these simple concepts over and over, and sales continue to climb. I'm proud that the slow, methodical push to make Lowcountry Bribe known is working. At least my publisher is happy!

C. Hope Clark is author of Lowcountry Bribe, a Carolina Slade Mystery, located in rural South Carolina. She calls the authorities to report a bribe offer, and suddenly she's the target of the law, her boss, and the original culprit who offered the bribe. The twists and turns of this debut mystery have amassed a hundred reviews on Amazon since its February release. Hope is also editor of Funds For Writers, chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past twelve years.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

A few more rounds of edits on my next book and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still need to do just a little more research to be sure I have all of the latest information. (So if the publishing industry would just stop changing for a couple weeks? Thanks!)

I’m excited because of the possibilities of this book. Not just in terms of sales or being able to offer it at my seminars, either. I’m excited that it will help a lot of writers get a handle on the industry and allow them to chose the best path to follow.

I have a wonderful editor I use, but I think once I have this book complete, I’d like a test reader, too. So if any of you have been through the process of a published book and promotions and would like read my book, please let me know. It’s not long - 35,000 words or so. I just want to be sure I don’t have any glaring omissions or sections that don’t make sense. Some of the information I’ve known for so long, I tend to forget not everyone knows it!

Thanks again Alex for this wonderful group.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Book Promotions - What Has Worked For You?

There are so many things we can do to promote books. I've tried to note some really great ideas here at Spunk On A Stick's Tips.

After all of my years as an author though, I often feel I am just recycling the same tips.

I would like to open it up to you! What tricks have you tried? What's something you do for every book that seems to pay off? What idea was really daring but it worked?

And I'd like to invite any author to do a guest post on his or her experiences. Leave a comment or send me an email. I'd like to offer some fresh ideas that might help someone have great success with a book launch.

Thanks and enjoy your photo today!

Just hanging out...

Friday, June 01, 2012

Google Searches and Content Discovery Optimization (CDO)

The way Google searches online for content has changed. This means our marketing efforts need to adapt to the changes. According to J. S. McDougall, Content Discovery Optimization (CDO) is replacing Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

“Where SEO focused on the technical aspects of search engine manipulation (keywords, link-building, etc.), CDO emphasizes quality content, sharing and community interaction.”

He compiled a list of five questions to ask yourself before you put anything on the web, including does the content link back to the source and does the content pass the scan test? We often post our book covers and other images, but do they always link back to our site? Do we break up our text with photos, bulleted lists, and section headers?

Read the full article at Book Business Magazine

The value of the content, not keywords, is what’s effective for good CDO.

Did you know about the changes with Google from SEO to CDO? Think you might need to make some changes to your online sites and content?

And because you need an image for today:

Hope CDO doesn't scare you!