Friday, September 28, 2012

Wal-Mart Pulls Kindles and Friday Inspirational Photo

From ZDNet:

“Late last week Wal-Mart announced that it will no longer sell the Amazon Kindle and Kinde Fire in its stores, joining Target in rejecting the devices. While the argument could be made that the razor-thin margins on those products contributed to that decision, the real reason is clearer: Amazon's tablets are a gateway to easy ordering from, which means fewer sales for Target and Wal-Mart.”

Wal-Mart still sells other tablets, including the iPad. Amazon is considering opening mini-shops to compete with Apple’s chain of stores and smaller shops, giving buyers the opportunity to check out a Kindle in person.

Think it’s a smart move for Wal-Mart? Think other companies are now leery of Amazon’s growing power?

And your inspirational photo of the day:

A toasty fire to keep you warm...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Signings - Beyond the Bookstore

Where else can authors do book signings? From my upcoming book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now:

Upon hearing the words “book signing,” most people think of a bookstore. And in the past, bookstores were great places for authors to meet readers and fans.

The decline of the bookstore and the emergence of e-books has changed that aspect. Fewer stores mean fewer opportunities for signings. Many people have converted to e-books, and while there are ways to autograph e-books, they're difficult to sell in the store. (Although it's not impossible, as signings at a Barnes and Noble can involve Nook sales.) The ease of self-publishing means there are more authors, too. Meeting a real live author in person just isn't a novelty anymore.

However, there are those who still treasure an autographed book. And since fostering relationships is important, personal appearances can still spur sales.

With bookstores on the decline, where else can you do a signing? The possibilities are endless! Depending on the subject matter of your book, consider these venues:

·         Gift stores
·         Specialty stores
·         Coffee shops
·         Arts and crafts fairs
·         Festivals
·         Farmers markets
·         Fundraisers
·         Political conventions
·         Trade shows
·         Museums
·         Parks
·         School and college events
·         Cruise ships

Can you use your creativity to think of other opportunities?

And my apologies to Kyra Lennon for the late posting of her upcoming book, If I Let You Go, a NA Romance coming out October 22, 2012:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Returning Ebooks and Friday Photo

In the real world, a physical book can be returned if not read. Should ebook returns be allowed?

Ebooks cost much less than physical books, often between $2.99 - $6.99, so the investment isn't huge. Before purchasing an ebook, the buyer is also allowed to read a sample - often several chapters. The buyer knows what he or she is getting before spending money.

And yet ebook returns happen.

Other electronic downloads are not refundable, such as movies and music. This is to prevent someone from downloading an album or movie, copying it, and then returning the original file. 

But an ebook could also be copied and returned. A buyer could also read an entire book and return it.

My question to you, as authors and readers - should ebook returns be allowed?

And now, your Friday photo as we welcome the first day of autumn...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Today is Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Genre Favorites Blogfest. Favorite genre of movie, music, book, and guilty pleasure from one of the three.

Movie -

After looking over a list of my favorite movies, it suddenly dawned on me - animated films dominate that list. I love movies such as Emperor’s New Groove, Ice Age, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me. They just have a good heart and story. Doesn’t matter the type of animation, as I’m a big fan of Wallace & Gromit. (I own a stuffed Wallace & Gromit, too. I’m a big fan of stuffed toys, too!)

Music -

I listen to everything from heavy metal to new age, so I decided I would just settle in the middle with ‘rock.’ Favorite bands include Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, Chevelle, Arena, ELO, and Ayreon.

Books -

I’ve read a variety over the years. I enjoyed anything with an animal in it. I loved the Narnia books and Anne McCaffrey’s work. If I go with my more recent reads, my genre of choice is self-help. This encompasses anything to do with relationships, success, personalities, leadership, people skills, motivation, goal-setting, and inspirations. I’ve read hundreds but always manage to pick up a new nugget.

No surprise that I wrote a success book, is there?

Guilty Pleasure -

I love animals. So much I don’t eat them. For a guilty pleasure genre, I’ll have to go with animal movies. They suck me right in and yes, I cry like a sap when something bad happens. (Which is why my husband won’t let me watch one of my favorites, Born Free, because I cry through the whole thing.)

Those are my genre favorites - what are yours?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Industry News - In Store Printing, Smartphones and Publishers, Self-publishing - and Friday Inspirational Photos

Some interesting news in the publishing industry-

Several companies have joined together for in-store book printing:

From Book Business:

“Eastman Kodak, On Demand Books, and ReaderLink announced they have partnered to revolutionize the way all types of printed books will be marketed, sold and produced at point of sale. The venture brings On Demand Books’ Espresso Book Machine to national retailers integrated with Kodak Picture Kiosks, giving consumers a full-service, digital-to-print media center for all their custom print needs—from photo books, custom/local self-published titles, to educational supplements, and more.”

Now that half of the US owns smartphones, is it opening the way for publishers?

From Digital Book World:

“According to a new study, 45% of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone, about double the proportion that own dedicated e-readers or tablet computers, currently making smartphones the most common mobile e-reading devices.”

“With fewer e-book buyers gravitating toward dedicated e-readers as their reading device of choice, tablets, smartphones and other e-reading venues will become more important for publishers to pay attention to.”

Penguin Group recently purchased Author Solutions Inc., whose revenue last year was $100 million. While self-publishing is on the rise, those authors still face great challenges.

From The Atlantic:

“By adding Author Solutions, with revenues last year said to be about $100 million, to such pedigreed Penguin names as Viking, Penguin Classics, Putnam, and Dutton, the concept of self-publishing has moved away from what was always known as "vanity publishing." While these authors are still mainly paying to see their works turned into finished print or e-books, they are no longer consigned just to the margins of the marketplace.”

“A thorough assessment of self-publishing by Alan Finder in the New York Times recently observed these benefits: "Digital publishing and print on demand have significantly reduced the cost of producing a book. ... Writers who self-publish are more likely to be able to control the rights to their books, set their books' sale price and keep a larger proportion of the sales." But he added this unassailable qualification: "Most self-published books sell fewer than 100 or 150 copies, many authors and self-publishing company executives say."’

What do you think of today’s news?

And your Friday inspirational photos:


One Drop...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitching to the Media

Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!

What is the media seeking? Let's begin with what the media doesn't seek:

“I'm an author and this is my new book.”

Here's a tip – the media doesn't care. You are just one of thousands of authors who have released a book today. Big deal! Even if the program focuses on authors or it’s your local newspaper or TV broadcast, you've got to come up with a more compelling reason for them to interview you.

Here's what the media is looking for – experts. They want expert advice and information for their audience. Remember, you researched and wrote a book. You are an expert in one or more areas. The media wants to talk to you about those subjects, not about your book.

So how do you pitch yourself to the media? What's your approach? Here are some suggested angles:

Educate the audience on a hot topic.
Expose vital new information.
Provide expert advice by tying in with a current event.
Show people how to solve their problems.
Show people how to be healthier, younger, or sexier.
Show people how to make or save money.
Tie in with political or charitable organizations.
If applicable, provide any of the above with a dose of entertainment.

The media is looking for ways to educate their audience. You give them what they want, focus on the topic, and you will be rewarded with an opportunity to mention your book. If it's obvious promoting your book is your only agenda, the media will look elsewhere.

Spunky the cat is not impressed with your media pitch...

Friday, September 07, 2012

When do Promotions Begin?

Book promotion is a marathon, not a sprint. But there are certain things that need to happen before the book’s release. Too often self-published authors rush their books to the market, leaving no time for early marketing. Officially promotions begin with the first word and filling a need. But once the book is into production, you need to give yourself time to properly promote it. Build up your audience! Give your book the best chance possible.

Here’s a pre-release checklist:

4-8 months
Book should be completing the editing phase and/or entering production at this point
Compose book synopsis
Prepare cover art
Select book reviewers
Set release date

3-5 months
Review copies prepared
Prepare sell sheet and review copy material
Star contacting reviewers
Debut the cover art
Book trailer in production
3-4 months
Review copies out to reviewers
Goodreads giveaways
Schedule virtual book tour
Gather media contacts
Debut book trailer

1-2 months
Gather reviews and follow-up on others
Final copy of book approved and reviews added
Promo materials printed (bookmarks, postcards, etc.)
Press release prepared
Schedule physical appearances & media interviews

1 month or less
Prepare Ebook
Promo materials to bookstores and libraries
All virtual tour posts and interviews completed
Announcement of tour and release
Information to online book sellers and genre websites
Press release ready to send

Much of this depends on your budget and book’s medium. And it doesn’t even begin to cover all of the aspects, which also include building an online platform long before the release date. But it outlines the basics and gives you a place to start.You worked hard on that book - do everything you can to ensure its success.

If you live in North Carolina, I offer seminars on book promotion, and my book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now, will be out early next year. Or just leave me a comment with your question!

Now, your Friday photo…

The dancing lights at Enchanted Forest, just outside of Salem, OR.

Wednesday, September 05, 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.

I decided to offer some encouragement and words of inspiration for you today.

So much of our success is decided by our attitude. As I stated in my book Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK: “A positive attitude seeks to move forward while a negative attitude refuses to budge…” Our attitude affects everything, from the goals we set to our willingness to risk failure.

No matter what you are facing, you can succeed with the right attitude!

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
- Theodore Roosevelt

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
- Thomas Jefferson

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”
Henry Ford

“Failures do what is tension relieving, while winners do what is goal achieving.”
- Dennis Waitley

“It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”
- Author Unknown

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.”
- Elbert Hubbard