It is, as one might expect from the title, a book about publishing at the lowest possible cost.
It is NOT a ‘how to’ book. Neither does it portend to be a step by step guide.
The Frugal Author is a book which considers indie authoring as a professional, commercial practise and, therefore, endeavours to share ideas behind the methods employed to minimise costs and maximise profits, just as any well-run, good mercantile enterprise should.
Following the publication of The Frugal Author, I am continually asked numerous questions about being an indie, small-press or hybrid author.
Many questions are common, others are those which frequently plague our minds; the ones we never openly inquire about for fear of feeling ‘foolish’ before our peers.
This has led me to create a book which gives the answers to those questions and maybe a few more? A book I have simply titled,
‘Lots of Author Stuff You Need to Know’.
I called it so because that is exactly what it contains, lots of author stuff you need to know.
This book is all about helping indie authors by sharing knowledge, like insights into book parts – which to use & where, important printing terms, best word counts for genres, formatting, the differing forms of editing and a ton of other ‘Stuff’ which is considered in this books various sections.
‘Lots of Author Stuff You Need to Know’ is produced as an easily downloadable eBook, available from most online retails including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Tolino, Angus & Robertson, 24Symbols, Playster, Overdrive, Bibliotheca and, of course, Amazon.
Does this title sound stupid? (Don’t answer that.)
I was trying to come up with a fancy, clever, literary genius of a title, one which would give an undeniable clue to the content of this post.
I got a few good ones lined up and then re-read them. Most were so oblique even I forgot the connection. Others read more like popular newspaper headings than a serious post about writing.
In the end, I settled for what you have above. Which cannot be too bad because here you are, reading me waffling on about something inane.
Okay, on with my post.
Many of my indie author friends, especially those who tend to write in a specific genre, have one or more series of books.
I know writing a book series is no new thing, but it is one which has become resurgent in popularity over recent years. This is partly because of a shift in reading habits, which in turn is partly influenced by film and television ‘franchises’. (I shall not go into the reading trends and patterns regarding general social psychology of the masses here… albeit a subject I love.)
The ideal is to have someone buy a copy of one of your books and like it so much they rush out and by the whole series… or nowadays go to an online bookstore; not so much fun as browsing a ‘real’ shops shelves but quite practical, especially for social hermits.
Anyway… I seem to be digressing.
The problem, it seems, lays with having ‘that someone’ buy the first book of your series.
Herein lies a quandary.
Until such a person has a copy of your book in their sticky mittens, they shall never know how captivating the story is. They shall never know your carefully crafted characters, fall in love with your protagonist or hold disdain for your antagonist.
Neither will they learn how well you write, narrate or how charming a tale spinner you are. Which would all be a ‘bit of a shame’.
Oh, I hear so many of you thinking, “it’s all about promotion and marketing, that’s how you get readers.”
Well, yes and no.
Yes, it is about promoting your works, and NO… Allow me to enlighten you on my reasoning.
It is not all about promoting your books. (‘Promoting’ is a word I shall use as an ‘umbrella’ term to include marketing, advertising and such hoo-ha for the duration of this post.)
It is all about promoting you, your books, both individually and collectively, and your author brand, in a certain way.
If I were to cover all these topics, in one post, I would end up writing an entire thesis three thousand pages long, neither something I have time to write in one sitting, or, I am sure, you have time to read. So, I shall concentrate purely on one aspect and follow up, in future posts, on other relevant subjects.
As the amazingly conceived title of this post states, I shall continue discussing your book series.
It has become something of an urban legend, a myth which survives to the present day and one which far too many authors still fall prey to, that is the one which says: “if you give your first book of a series away as a freebie you will gain lots of new readers who will buy all your other books.”
That is a lie, promoted by those who generate financial gain from (often desperate) indie authors. Free may have been a viable option in the early days of the internet when Amazon was just a simple bookstore when indie authors were referred to as desktop publishers and vanity press meant having a book for sale outside of a mainstream publishing house. (See: https://wp.me/p5nj7r-1fn )
There are ways forward, none are push and go or plug and play. Each takes time and consistent effort to achieve and not all will work equally for all authors, their books or series. Book promotion is not an exact science.
Thunderclaps, Daycause, Blog hops, Tweet chains can all form part of your overall promotional strategy… You know, the carefully planned and timed schedule you have designed. The one which ensures you maximise each promotional effort… Yeh, that’s the one, your synergetic multi-arena integrated sales stratagem for the 2018/19 marketing period.
However, few authors consider writing a further book, or two or three or more to help gain and build readership and, on the face of it, with good reason. After all, writing another book is only adding to the series and that takes us back to square one… doesn’t it?
You see, this is about taking a new approach to authors promotions, in this case, Prequels… now, I know prequels are not new; way back when, we had Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (1874); but did you know that Jean Rhys wrote the ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ in 1966 as a prequel and response, describing the background to the marriage Jane learns about after going to work for Mr Rochester?
How about a prequel with a difference?
Let me ask you some questions…
What if… you could write a shorter book, a book especially targeted at attracting readers to your current series?
What if… a group of authors would help you promote that book?
What if… a book brand would include your book in its promotions, making it constantly visible to a global audience, online, in magazines and via social media?
What if… you became an Electric Eclectic author?
Currently, Electric Eclectic are well known for their ebook Novelettes, their short stories books which help connect readers and authors.
But now, Electric Eclectic is launching a form of book they call a ‘Proquel’
These are Prequels, Character Backstories and Parallels designed specifically to introduce readers to your book series, in fact, the name Proquel is simply an amalgamation of the words promotion and prequel. (Pretty cool, yeah?)
Now… unlike many books, an Electric Eclectic proquel is unashamedly a promotional tool. While there is no compromise regarding the quality of content or storytelling, these books do not have to be full-length novels, but novella’s, with a suggested word count of between 17K and 40K words.
Once assessed and accepted by Electric Eclectic, your book(s) benefit from all the marketing and promotional activities of Electric Eclectic and your fellow EE authors.
You will have your books on the Electric Eclectic website along with a personal author page and much more. You can check out the Electric Eclectic website HERE.
And…this is the BEST BIT… you make money on your proquels too… yep, you still earn full royalties on your book sales.
Electric Eclectic is NOT a publisher and does NOT take royalties.
You will get all the above for a minimal fee… and I mean a minimal fee.
You have nothing to lose.
So, why not find out more about becoming an Electric Eclectic author and, how writing just one other book, could help you sell your whole series?
With major ground shifts and changes occurring throughout the publishing and online worlds, becoming an Electric Eclectic author could be the best decision you make this year.
Once we have learnt about something, once we consider we understand it, think we have mastered it, we like to run with it, to keep it.
We are often loath to stop, to give it up… to alter anything.
Many of us are resistant to change, of losing the little comfort zone we made for ourselves. One can liken such to the reluctance of a child giving up a blanket, or a soother.
If we do make the move, we find it easier to be weaned, to slightly adjust, little by little, so we don’t notice the change, or at least that is how we convince ourselves.
The problem is, by the time our situation has evolved in a way which assuages our reluctance, we find we are far behind the madding crowd, so far behind we have little chance of catching up.
In these days of high tech communications and internet connectivity, it is now more obvious than ever before.
Only the fearful and desperate cling to what once was,.
Only the backward and slow reminisce and wish for those ‘good old days‘ when a Facebook post actually reached ALL your ‘friends’ and not just the 3 to 10% they do with today’s algorithms.
The same is true of your book promotions. This is why your sales do not exceed the minimal expectations you tell yourself are reasonable goals, let alone your wishes and dreams to become a consistent bestselling author.
To give away a book for free is an archaic, outdated and outmoded marketing model. One which no longer holds any credence, but one which so many still cling to with dying hope, like a gambler sliding deeper into depressive debt.
Paying another organisation to give your books away is a sign of utter desperation. A despondent cry for help, for someone, anyone to read your story.
In reality, it is authorship suicide; one you may never recover from financially and one which could leave your reputation in raggedy tatters, before you even start.
Book launches and parties no longer pull the crowds. They are a nice way to spend a few extra hours chatting with those you regularly talk to every day; to hear them say nice things about you, your book and “what a marvellous cover” you have.
But such events no longer attract readers. They have been overdone and done over, like an ancient, wrinkled whore, they no longer hold any attraction whatsoever.
Thunderclaps, Headtalkers, Daycause are little more than a (mostly) unseen flash-in-the-pan. A quick blast of tweets and public post which disappear down the scrolling stream faster than Usain Bolt running a hundred meters.
Authors, you NEED to find new ways to promote your works, ways which offer longevity rather than the promise of making a ‘quick buck’ or selling a few more copies of your latest tome overnight… for one night only.
You need to find a simple, ongoing promotional aid which is always working for you, even when you’re not working.
A low-cost way that won’t break the bank, or better still, a way which will pay you a return, a royalty, on your promotional material.
Now wouldn’t that be wonderful…
If only such a thing existed…
Well, such a thing does exist, but only for those who are prepared to move forward, to see the changing lights (mostly red ones) as social media platforms are brought to task and the hyper highway of freedom and unlimited possibility become more crowded, slower and, well… limited.
A small, but growing group of indie authors, are moving forward into the new dawn of altered perception, of interweb reconstruction and publishing future.
It is a group which, (at present), still has its doors open to welcome a few more indie authors inside. Authors with great tales to share, who are well crafted in penning a wonderful story. Authors who are serious about writing, about selling their books, about being authors.
So, what is this group and who are these indie authors?
Simple, we are Electric Eclectic. The book brand which is sweeping the internet.
This is what The Frugal Author says you can achieve, in this book of the same name.
He has written this book as an aid for independent authors in pursuit of economical, prudent self-publication.
The Frugal Author produces his own eBooks, paperbacks and high-quality hardcover publications with very little if any, financial outlay.
This book is full of the distilled results, the acquired knowledge and personal practice of being a successful indie author who dislikes paying out more than is absolutely necessary.
In this book, he explains how he achieves that, along with insights into indie publishing and sharing his ideas of how you too can implement the same type of methods for your own books.
The Frugal Author is NOT a ‘how to’ book. It is NOT a step by step guide or tuitional publication. The Frugal Author simply shares methodology, ideas and principles which you can adopt fully or partially, implement in part or whole over time and adjust to suit your own working practices.
You may well ask what credibility The Frugal Author has? and you are right to do so.
To date, he has published 19 books, ranging from children’s stories and poetry to psychological suspense. From Tales of Crime & Violence through to true accounts of Life in the Warzone. Pulp-fiction comic book yarns are written alongside romantic stories and non-fictional military social history.
The Frugal Author is a true multi-genre author. He is also a multi-format author having eBooks, Paperbacks and Hardcover publications.
Two of his books are recognised and authenticated Amazon bestsellers.
He is a well-known and respected member of the global Indie Author and Writers community and a founding member of APC, Authors professional Co-operative, Founder of Electric Eclectic books and chief editor of CQI Magazine.
He is acknowledged for the help and advice he shares and the initiatives he employs to help all writers succeed, irrelevant of their experience.
Now, he is sharing some of his ideology and methodology with you in this book, The Frugal Author.
Download yourself a copy today, start saving money and start heading into profit… NOW.
You may, or may not, have noticed I have not posted here for a while.
This is because there is so much happening in the book and publishing world; two areas I am involved in.
Here is one major ‘continental shift’ which is taking place right now.
FREEBIE books have lost their appeal.
“The general public has become immune and dissatisfied with the mass of FREE and GIVEAWAY books.
What was once a novel, loss-leading marketing tool has become a haunt for freebie hunters who just want free and have NO interest in the author, or on many occasions the book itself.
In fact, Amazon’s own download figures show that ONLY 2% of ALL free books are read, with over 70% being deleted within 14 days of downloading. (or discarded in the case of paperbacks.)
The probable reason is, that as free loses its appeal authors and publishers are now giving away vouchers, gifts and running competitions to entice people to download their free books.
Basically, they are paying people to download in an attempt to manipulate the figures and gain a ‘ranking status’, in the hope it will influence genuine readers to purchase.
Whilst this may have worked in the past, it no longer has any substantial legacy, particularly as Amazon has once again changed their logarithms to combat this ‘false’ accounting of sale.
Now only verified ‘paid for’ purchases will count towards rankings.
Which leaves only one possible benefit of giving a book away… that of building a mailing list for future direct marketing and sales.
BUT… this now only tends to create a false list of possible future people who may read another of those books, because once downloaded the ‘reader’ then cancels their subscription/listing (as is their legal right). Only dedicated Freebie hunters stay, waiting for the next free book you offer. Which is one of the reasons why only 2% of such downloads are actually read.
This means, most indie authors who give their books away in the belief they will gain readers in the long term are going to be out of pocket for a long, long time. Those who pay companies, the free book marketing businesses, are losing far more.
If it sounds too good to be true… it is.
In the cold light of day… paying someone to give away your book, the book you may have spent a year or so producing, spending money on editing, formatting and cover design, in the vague hope that free will earn you an income, let alone cover your initial costs… without any guarantees…
Hmmph, doesn’t sound so good in the cold light of day, does it?
Sales logarithms are not the only change AMAZON have recently made. They have changed, once again the way customer reviews work.
This time for the best, in my opinion.
No longer will pay for, swopped or gifted reviews count, and if things work well, they will not even be shown.
ONLY true, verified, genuine purchases by readers will count. NO form of solicited or professional reviews will be accepted.
If Amazon can and do strictly enforce this rule, then for the first time will all authors get, and all readers have a genuine, believable overview to the quality of the books they are looking to purchase.
I hope this works and the cheats and charlatans are cast out.
GOODREADS becomes the ‘GO TO’ platform.
Goodreads has been around for a long time and has slowly progressed to become a mecca for book lovers.
This trend continues and is now being enhanced on several fronts. Goodreads shall soon be THE place for readers and authors to talk and deal with all thing literary. There are many changes which will be implemented during the next year or two.
If you do not have a presence on Goodreads, either as a book lover or as a writer… get on with it… go now and sign up before you are left behind… and remember… you heard it here first.
Electric Eclectic is the new kid in town, but its founder has a great track record in the indie publishing market with established brands CQ International, TOAD Publishing and PeeJay designs.
Simply put, Electric Eclectic is a brand of books written by a variety of authors from various nationalities.
Each Electric Eclectic book is a Kindle Novelette, a short story of between six thousand and twenty thousand words. These novelettes are designed as introductory books, shorter reads to give you a taste of the narration and style of your chosen Electric Eclectic author.
Unlike the freebie books mentioned above, the quality of storytelling of each Electric Eclectic book has undergone a quality and selection process, before publication, to ensure each book reaches our exacting standards.
When you buy an Electric Eclectic book, you have confidence and reassurance of its quality, which makes it the perfect way to find great reads and even your ‘next favourite author.’
Electric Eclectic books hope that once you find a story or an author you are excited about, you will read their other books too.
That is what Electric Eclectic is all about, putting great authors together with ardent book lovers and readers… a match made in heaven.
Also, as Electric Eclectic books cost just 1.00 (dollar/pound/euro), the reader will have made a verified purchaseso their review will be accepted by Amazon, letting them voice their view and airing their opinion too.
Before I talk about Electric Eclectic in detail, lets set the layout of the indie publishing ground.
It is something like this….
I constantly hear writers say they are looking for new ways, or better ways, or alternative ways to market their books.
I also hear many authors saying they would like to find an effective way to promote their books without spending a fortune.
Not forgetting those who lament they never knew about a new initiative, or would have loved to be in at the beginning of… whatever it may be.
In this post, I shall offer you one of those alternative ways… and the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something special… read on, but only if this is the type of opportunity you would really like to grasp.
The general consensus it seems, is Facebook adverts don’t work; unless you are willing to give all your hard-earned cash to Mark Suckonaburger (to gain a small exposure to a limited number of people for a minimum amount of time and still have no guarantee anybody, outside of your regular social network, will actually see this paid for promotion.)
The same goes for the confusion which is Goodreads and the plethora of similar book/author/reader platforms such as (in my opinion) the expensive Library Thing. Authors Den tries hard but is much the same and just as confusing as Goodreads.
Of course, you can pay for people to ‘give away’ your books, there are plenty who are willing to freely distribute all those months of your hard work, not to mention the money you have invested for… well, more of your money.
They will use the old adage, the saying that a short-term investment (read loss) is a way of gaining new readers. You know the type who will take your free offer, one of those folks who ONLY read free books “because there are thousands of free books ‘out there’, so why do I need to pay for any?” type of folk.
Why then, should they suddenly have a change of heart and convert to actually paying to read someone’s creation because they see your book going for free?
It is NOT going to happen.
Books are perceived to be devalued when they are offered free.
If you ever do find a grand number of these folk, enough to create an income large enough to sustain an author’s life, please let me know, because no one else has achieved that, so you would be making groundbreaking world history.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not against people paying for marketing or promoting books. All I ask is you consider exactly what they can/are doing for you and what realistically you can expect as a return on your investment.
Try calculating the cost/return usingthis thought process:
Equate the cost/fee the person/company is asking, as a royalty return per-book. (after tax).
Calculate how many book sales that figure equals.
Note how long you have to achieve your target.
This will tell you how many paid for books you MUST sell to replace that spend. (Your break-even point for this promotion.) and how long you have to accomplish this.
Remember, this calculation does not take into account the amount of money you have already spent on getting the book published in the first place, such as cover design, formatting, editing, maybe printing costs and so on.
If you are looking for a return, or to achieve an income from your promotion and marketing, doing this simple calculation is a good way to judge the portent of such an investment.
You do the math.
You decide if its genuine value for money.
Now… to Electric Eclectic. (EE for short)
Because I often approaching marketing from a slightly different angle, some can find my concepts a little confusing or difficult to comprehend at first, even though I try to keep things a simple as possible.
What gives me the right to write this… and who am I anyway?
I spent several years working in marketing, primarily with the larger advertising agencies such as John Walter Thompson, BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi and so on. It was back when computer manufacturers had names like Sinclair, Dragon and Amstrad. Google was something to do with cricket, Windows were for looking through and cleaning, telephones had curly wires attaching them to the wall and programming used a language called Basic.
I now employ many of the principles learnt during my time in London, albeit updated and developed to work on social media, in the marketing of my own books. Doing so has served me well; I am a recipient of several literary awards and I am credited as an Amazon Bestselling Author.
Continuing with the development of my online marketing techniques, I have created a way for authors to earn royalties from their advertising while promoting their books.
I have branded this as Electric Eclectic.
You see, I know most, if not all writers have many short stories, part stories, old stories lingering in rarely accessed files. These stories are the ones they have not finished yet or are keeping to work on at a later date, (a date which never comes), or once used in a charitable anthology years ago. Some are little more than rough notes waiting to be developed, others unused cuts and edits from a previous novel.
No matter which or why they are there, most if not all writers have unused ‘stuff’ lingering around.
I have an idea how you can Moneytise these loitering tales.
At the same time authors are spending even more money, time and effort discounting and giving books away, ones they have worked so hard and so long writing. They are doing so in the rather vague hope of hooking the odd appreciative reader.
This is to me, like throwing the proverbial ‘shush’ at the fan. Sometimes called the shotgun or scattergun approach. Using a big unfocused blast in the hope we hit something.
More often than not, all that happens is we suffer splashback.
You must admit, it all looks and sounds a bit amateurish and silly when considered from this perspective.
So… what have I devised which makes any difference?
The answer is Electric Eclectic books.
It works like this; You (the author) digs out one of those old stories, one of your half-written, lingering, lost works, or you could write a new piece for Electric Eclectic books. It’s up to you.
The story is edited and formatted using EE guidelines, a cover produced under the same EE format, (working within the EE guidelines is of paramount importance) This results in the creation of an eBook between 6K and 20K words.
In other words, a Novelette.
By creating this book or books, (there are no limits to the number of EE books any author can produce, although two to three would be a good starting number.) using the Electric Eclectic branding, the book becomes an EE book.
The author pays a small, once only/lifetime fee, to licence the use of the EE brand for their book. (It is a franchise licenceif you wish.)
The EE licence applies and is associated with the books ASIN. Therefore, each book requires its own EE licence.
(Sorry, but certain parts of the EE formatting and branding system can only be revealed to authors after the licence fee is paid. They will not be revealed here.)
The Author publishes their own book, under their own name on Kindle and any/all other sites they wish.
ALL rights remain with the author.
The author keeps all royalties.
As an EE author, you now benefit from the Electric Eclectic branding.
This means sharing in the exposure of all EE book promotions and marketing; the general ongoing brand marketing, the general promotions, even each individual title and author promotions helps the brands overall publicity. Not forgetting inclusion in online magazines and recommended book listings and the EE search page on Amazon.
The final part of the jigsaw is… when readers purchase an EE book, not only does the author receive the sales royalty (rather than paying to give their book away), but the readers are shown and directed towards the author’s other books and works directly by hyperlink.
To conclude; by using unused stories, re-published works etc. Electric Eclectic branding allows authors to earn from their stories which were previously just collecting dust. EE books link readers directly to your other books, greatly increasing potential sales of your prime works.
Increasing income, having a greater chance of sales and gaining new readers, saving money on marketing and reducing costs by not discounting or giving away your major books, makes publishing an Electric Eclectic book a win-win situation for all authors.
Electric Eclectic is a marketing brand designed for the promotion of indie-authored books.
Electric Eclectic is NOT a publisher.
Electric Eclectic do NOT take any royalties.
Authors are not contracted, leaving them unrestricted regarding other publishing options.
Would you like to join us?
Would you like to be one of the first Electric Eclectic authors?
This post focuses on writing blogs, website content, social media and emails rather than stories and books.
As independent authors, our ability to write such is of paramount importance to our promotional and marketing strategy. Yet the way you write could be alienating those who are not quite as apt as you or me at reading.
A couple of years ago, I had a wonderful comment from a person who suffered from dyslexia about a post.
Although his comments were primarily about the content and not the presentation of the post, he mentioned he found my post far easier to read than many, if not most.
Curiosity got the better of me.
Why I wondered, could he read and understand my posts, when he struggled to read so many others?
Over the next few days, he and I conversed, by email, about his reading on a personal level and Dyslexia in general.
Before I carry on and explain the outcome of our conversations, I think as writers we should all know and understand what dyslexia and some of the most common reading difficulties are. So, I am including the following few paragraphs & bullet points, (which I cribbed from the internet), for clarity.
A formal definition of dyslexia used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states, “It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. “
Unsurprisingly, the International Dyslexia Association defines it in simple terms. “Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.”
In contrast, Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder, meaning that it relates specifically to how the brain processes the visual information it receives. It is not a language-based disorder and phonics-based instruction will not help someone with Irlen Syndrome improve in the same way it will help someone with dyslexia improve their reading skills.
At its core, Irlen Syndrome is a light sensitivity, where individuals are sensitive to a specific wavelength of light and this sensitivity is what causes the physical and visual symptoms that people with Irlen Syndrome experience. People with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty reading not because their brains have difficulty connecting the letters they see with the sounds those letters make, but because they see distortions on the printed page, or because the white background or glare hurts their eyes, gives them a headache, or makes them fall asleep when trying to read.
Unlike dyslexia, difficulties experienced because of Irlen Syndrome can reach well beyond just reading. People with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty processing all visual information, not just words on a printed page, so they often have trouble with depth perception, driving, sports performance, and other areas not generally connected with dyslexia.
Alexia is a form of dyslexia, but dyslexia is developmental, meaning that it does not happen from an occurrence such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Alexia is an acquired reading disability because of an acquired event such as a stroke. It is most common for alexia to be accompanied by expressive aphasia (the ability to speak in sentences), and agraphia (the ability to write).
All alexia is not the same, however. You may have difficulty with the following:
Recognizing words ● Difficulty identifying and reading synonyms ● Difficulty with reading despite your ability to sound out pronunciation of words.
Although you can read words, it is too difficult to read for very long ● Blind spots blocking the end of a line or a long word ● Focusing on the left side of the paragraph or page ● Double vision when trying to read ● Reading some words but not others. Of course, this makes reading impossible.
A stroke survivor with alexia that can read larger words, but cannot read tiny words such as “it,” “to,” “and,” etc. ● Any combination of some of these traits.
My conversations with, (I shall call him ‘Jay’ during this post), led me to take a close look at how I was presenting my blogs, what made them so different and, could I improve them further?
It turns out the style I chose… I was going to say developed, but that sounds arrogant. So, the style I was using at the time was to write in small(ish) chunks, using relatively short sentences and paragraphs, as I have so far in this post.
Unlike the following.
This differed to most blogs and posts on the interweb which were, (and still are), long blocks of continuous sentences and sub-sentences, forming large paragraphs with very little line spacing or breaks. This may be a ‘style’ welcomed by universities and those writing technical/medical/professional and some literary journals. I have seen many papers which follow this style. I have even read a few and I must agree it makes for extremely uncomfortable reading. To read such a document, one must concentrate fully and focus on each word of each line. Whenever the eye moves from its forced liner motion, even for a moment, is when the reader finds some difficulty in returning to the exact location they were at previously, often meaning one must, annoyingly, re-read sections already read. Like you have possibly just done when reading with this last long drivelling, over worded paragraph I have written in just such a manner to illustrate my point that it makes for uncomfortable reading, even for those of us blessed with good eyesight and adequate skill. A point which I hope I have now made adequately clear with this paragraph which is representative of many blogs.
Writing in this form creates such a large block of words it becomes challenging to separate them into clear concise ‘bite-sized‘ and manageable ‘lots’ of information.
This is one of the areas of written presentation which was highlighted to me by Jay.
I already used a style of writing which broke long paragraphs into much smaller ones, whenever practicable, but I was not aware of the impact doing so made on the reader. From then on, I broke paragraphs down even further than I did ‘pre-‘Jay’
I was also made aware of unnecessarily long sentences, sentences with too many superfluous words.
This simply meant cutting out all those unnecessary words to make sentences read far more precisely and clearly.
Eliminating irrelevant words.
You see, this is not fictional or creative literature as when writing a novel, or even a short story. This is describing and sharing thoughts, ideas, information and data. Another skill set entirely.
Authors often discover this when having to write a precise about their latest book, like the back-cover blurb, an agent’s query synopsis, or for a promotional activity.
We all know, or at least should, that mixing sentence lengths makes for better reading. But so does spacing and breaking them up, like I have done in most of this post.
Please do not get me wrong.
I am not solely writing or directing my words specifically to those with reading difficulties, but I am looking to be as inclusive as possible and not simply because I am attempting to be politically, or socially correct.
I do it because I want as many people as possible to read my words. That is why I write.
Looking at how one presents their posts on the screen does not take much effort. Neither does adjusting one’s style to make it clearer and easier to read… for everybody, including you and me.
To finish, look at this Git-Hub virtual reality page. It shows how we can best comprehend the way those suffering from dyslexia and associated reading difficulties may see the written word.
My lesson following my conversations with ‘Jay’ is, “We can all learn from others, even those we may have previously considered had nothing to give us. After all, I never thought a dyslexic could teach an established author how to write clearer, even better. How wrong I was.”
Thank you for reading another of my Ramblings. Please subscribe to this blog if you will.
I am open to all comments and try to reply to them all personally.
You have guessed it, this post is all about marketing…
BUT… not marketing as you may comprehend it from a basic level, which is an amalgamation of advertising and promotion, but marketing from a perspective you may not have realised exists.
Have I got your attention?
I do hope so, because I believe having a clear understanding of this view of marketing can make or break your success as an author.
I once worked in hard-copy magazine publishing and spent many hours discussing marketing with prime agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, John Walter Thompson (JWT), BDM & BBDO (now combined with Abbott Mead & Vickers I think,) along with media buying services Zenith, Media.com and OMD and PR companies including Ogilvy, Brunswick and Edelman.
ALL the agents I met were looking for that ‘something’ which would take the target audience by storm. They all wanted to make their mark within the industry by having a campaign which would enter media/publishing/broadcasting folklore. I.E, propel them into ‘the big time’.
Now, I am not one to poo-poo or trying to dissuade anyone from wishing to advance their career, far from it, BUT (I always have but’s in my blog posts), these agency agents failed to notice an overriding fact. The most successful agents, many whom now owned or partnered the companies these agents were working for, became successful by constants and continuity, not by a flash in the pan, however big a bang that may make at the time.
It is this same attitude I find when speaking to many business people, including authors, particularly new and/or first time/wannabe writers.
It is irrelevant, regarding the content of this post, if you write the most amazing, perfectly formed tome ever, or you have hastily scribbled a ‘quick’ novella or e-book novelette.
NO one will buy your book… unless they know about it, so you must tell people you have written a book. Doing so is called advertising, which a division of marketing.
Running a Thunderclap or posting about your book on social media is another area of marketing, like sending emails to friends to let them know you have published your book, BUT (another one), these are only the most obvious and basic parts of what marketing covers.
However, what marketing REALLY is, is EVERYTHING that you do.
Allow me to explain.
Whatever tasks you are working on now, right now, ask yourself this question… “How does this affect my marketing?”
Ask yourself this question at the beginning, during and at the end of each and every task you undertake in your role as a writer and author. Soon you will begin to understand everything has some form of influence in marketing you and your work to the world.
The way you look and dress in a video or podcast… “How does this affect my marketing?”
The images you post on social media. “How does this affect my marketing?”
Your profile image, “How does this affect my marketing?”
Your comments and replies. “How does this affect my marketing?”
How you look and speak at book fairs and events. “How does this affect my marketing?”
The layout and design of your tables and space. “How does this affect my marketing?”
Where, when and how you advertise and promote. “How does this affect my marketing?”
…… and so on.
You may notice I have not touched on your books covers, content, banners, advertising material design or so on, yet.
When do you make a paperback or eBook version of that book? “How does this affect my marketing?”
Did you notice I said when? Timing is also critical as an aspect of marketing.
There is an old, but true adage, is say’s, “If you want to sell your [books] you have to sell yourself first.”
Nothing is truer.
Another is, “People buy People”.
I will not argue with that.
These are things we all need to keep in mind. Dale Carnegie should have said, “we have to win friends to influence people.” That saying would sit well in our modern digital world.
In conclusion, we must create a persona as an author or business person. Much like a fictional character from one of our tales.
This character however should not be fake, but a facet of ourselves, our ‘public image’ one we must nurture and cultivate in absolutely everything we do.
The one of which we ask, “How does this affect my marketing?” in everything you do.
Only by doing so, by becoming aware that marketing means marketing YOURSELF, constantly, consistently and at every opportunity can you play the long game, the strategy which will make you an ongoing constant and not another nonentity looking for that great flash in the pan, the non-existent big bang which will propel you into the big time.
I could go on and write more. But… (another but) I would like you to consider this content seriously before I delve any deeper into the subject of marketing.
I often hear authors sound flabbergasted when their books, even their newly launched publication, the one they have been working on for so long and spent a fortune, in both time and effort promoting and marketing, shows as OUT OF STOCK on major bookstore sites.
I mean, how can a brand-new novel, only published yesterday, already be out of stock? Besides, it has been published as a POD (print on demand) so it can never be out of stock… can it?
Why, if it is available from one site, is it showing as out of stock in another? It all seems so confusing.
I have been asked, “Surely if my potential reader sees out of stock against my book, they will simply by another book, someone else’s book… won’t they?”
My answer is “It is a possibility, even a probability.”
So, why can/does your newly published book show out of stock on some site and stores listings.
There are a few reasons. Much depends on who has published your book. CreateSpace (as was), KDP, or another online book publisher like Babybook, Smashwords or B2B, or a private printing company and, who holds your prime stock, if any?
That last part may sound a strange inclusion when speaking of POD books, but some places will/do hold stock, physical stock of POD books… I bet you never considered that before, did you?
Okay, so let me clarify some of this.
First, let’s speak of those who may hold actual stock of your books.
These are varied, so this is a general overview rather than a focused statement.
Many high street bookstores, even some of the larger chains, do hold some independent authors books. You may have to get ‘lucky’ (or have a proven ‘bestseller’) for your book to take up valuable shelf space which is at a premium at this level of retail, but it can happen.
There are even a few re-sellers and wholesalers who are looking closely at getting more indie authors books in front of the high-street public… but that’s another story (Pun intended.)
Bookstores generally order their books on a fortnightly basis, often guided by their sales/buying/distribution agents convoluted algorithms, which are designed to predict purchasing patterns. Hence, if your book has continued/constant high-volume sales on a site such as Amazon, your book could, possibly, maybe, end up on the shelves of your local bookstore.
This is how the bookstore, should they have an internet presence, (I don’t know one that does not), may list your book as out-of-stock. This does not mean your book cannot be purchased via that particular site, only that the store does not have it on the shelf, or on their warehouse, but your order will be dispatched as soon as the new fortnight’s order arrives from the wholesale/resale company.
The agent will order your book as a multiple/bulk order and distribute copies to the relevant stores they supply the inventory for the two-week cycle. It is these companies who would, for example, buy from Amazon as part of the ‘Expanded distribution’ should you have enabled that option.
Now, let’s get to grips with the sites that do not hold any, or very little, stock and why they may mark your book as out of stock. (This post is Amazon focused, simply because they are the largest bookseller and I am certain almost every indie has or has had, dealings with them.)
Historically, the biggest times of out of stock, or two to three weeks delivery notices, came when Amazon was solidifying its position as the major book distributor in the world. It had a long ongoing, but quiet battle, with Lightning Source and the two main suppliers Amazon used as dropships, Ingram and Baker & Taylor.
As part of the ever-growing Amazon domination, it needed warehouse space and to reduce costs, which can spiral, expediently even for a massive organisation.
Thus, Amazon reduced its stock levels of all POD books re-ordering necessary stock on a daily basis. But this was not always enough time for POD printers to supply demand in the timespan, hence out of stock messages appeared.
Now, all this and the continued adjustments since created a shift change in the marketplace. Since the demise of Createspace, KDP is now undoubtedly the main supplier of indie books to Amazon Books, as it is part of Amazon anyway. So, for the least chance of having your book listed as out of stock, or as a delayed delivery, KDP is your best bet.
Lightning Source, Blurb, Babybooks, Lulu, B2B and so on, take a secondary seat in the ongoing war for profits, which is what effects your book sales the most. You cannot blame Amazon or Barnes & Noble, Ingram or anybody else, this is what business is about, maximising revenue and profits.
So, on that basis, not one of these companies actually cares about you, or your book. (on an individual basis). It is nothing personal, your book is just another item of stock/listing among the many millions, which needs to be sold. So, if your POD company does not supply in time, has an issue with Amazon, your book may be tagged as out-of-stock.
Oh, occasionally it is a genuine mistake, someone clicks the wrong button, but that is far and less often than many would have you believe.
Even if your book is not listed on the major sites, the POD wholesale/agent distribution factors do still influence the availability of your book.
The note to take from this post, if nothing else, is the misconception most indies have in believing all orders from a POD publisher are printed there and then, to order, on the order/request of each customer. This is not necessarily true, as I have explained above.
Which is why you could see that unwanted message, ‘out of stock’ on your books sales pages, no matter which site(s) you use.
Finally, as a personal disclaimer, arse covering statement… there are far more book publishers/printers/distributors/suppliers than I have mentioned here, like TOAD Publishing… oh that’s my own Publishing house!
The secret is to choose the one, (or the several), which suits you and your needs the best.
That’s it from me just now. I hope this post has been helpful.
Please subscribe to Ramblings from a Writers Mind, then you will know when one of these sporadic articles has been posted.
In the meantime, you could sit back and relax with some Tales of Crime & Violence… go on, you know you want too. https://goo.gl/8aY9XR
Choose from volume 1, 2 or 3. Better still, grab all three and save yourself from coming back for another!
It may seem a strange title for a post, but it is one which reflects much of what our modern society is about.
With the event of digital photography and smart phones, far more of our daily lives are recorded, most often in a haphazard fashion. A jumble of images stored on SD cards, memory sticks and in a long scrolling stream of incoherent, often unconnected messages.
Many vanish when we upgrade our phones or computers, memory cards are lost, external hard drives become corrupt or obsolete. Some files may be stored ‘in the cloud’ or ‘on social media’ at least for now, for the time being, until it all changes once again.
Nothing is secure from loss, deletion, corruption or becoming obsolete. Such is the way of modern technology, such is modern life. A simple power outage can render even the most expensive, cutting edge technological gadget useless, in less than a Nano second.
Books, on the other hand, tend to outlast anything else when it comes to keeping their content safe. Libraries, universities, country estate houses and museums, all hold venerable tomes from hundreds of years past. Volumes of information and knowledge that do not need an external, or rechargeable, power source.
This is why you need TOAD Publishing in your life.
TOAD is a specialist publisher, who concentrate their efforts on glossy hardcover books, generally known as ‘Coffee Table’ books.
What is a Coffee Table Book?
In theory, you can put any book you like on your coffee table, but not all books inspire conversation. A Coffee Table book is usually an oversized hardcover book. It is designed to be displayed somewhere prominent, often on a sideboard, a visible bookshelf, or maybe a Coffee Table!
These books help to entertain friends, family and guests. They stimulate conversation, allow people to see what the interests of the owner, such as the arts, photography, fashion, style, travel, and family.
They are statement pieces, works of art, decorative and entertaining.
Now TOAD have taken the coffee table book one step further, one step beyond ubiquitous perception.
Enter the Heirloom Book.
TOAD create personal, unique books chronicling major events in your life, the moments you like to keep as a memento, to share with family and friends, or preserve as an heirloom.
They will turn your photos into a glossy wedding album, or a chronicle your pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, to a child’s first birthday. They will document a life project, a holiday and more.
In the past, TOAD have created a record of theatre production, from foundation to the first night performance and city art students, as they created a street mural for the council arts project.
These books are not about recording the past, they are about recording your life now, on the present moment, which will soon be the past, a too easily and too often, lost past.
When it comes to documeting your life, do not leave it to the haphazardness of chance, keep your memories safe, keep them in a Heirloom Book from TOAD.
Heirloom Books, work for businesses too. Document special projects, feature successes stories and special events, like the annual conferences, share them with your suppliers, customers, or staff, in this wonderfully unique way.
TOAD Heirloom Books enhance the perception of esteem to reception areas, hotel lobbies, waiting rooms, guest rooms, private libraries and, of course, on your coffee table.
Heirloom Books are full colour, unless otherwise specified, glossy, perfect bound, photographic and/or illustrated, hardcover publications. The interior layout and covers are designed by our in-house studio, PeeJay Designs and printed by our partners in the Netherlands, from where the books are distributed worldwide.