Number one problem for new authors

If you are a new author, there is plenty of advice available on: how to get published, how to ePublish, how to write letters to agents…the most overlooked piece is the number one problem for new authors…”how to hang on.”

So you’ve written your first book (ebook, hardcover, paperback…a book is a book) and now you have published, by whatever means available to you.  Your book is out there and you’ve sold 1 copy…2 copies…10 copies…and then nothing.  What happened?  What is the next step?  You think hard…you tweet it.  Surely your “followers” will want your book.  You blog it.  You put it on your facebook page…and still nothing.

Take a breath.  Look at your strategy.  Who is your target audience?  Do they even know you wrote a book?  Have you reached out to them?  If it didn’t work, what has to change?  If you believe in your work, do NOT let go of your dream.  Letting go is the easiest way out of the market and it is the quickest way to insure that you will have a hard time breaking back into the market.

Look at your strategy, something might have to change there, but throwing in the towel will not help you be a successful author.  Do not sabotage your potential success.  It is difficult to “hang on.”  You are out there, exposed, people can see the numbers, they know…and so what.  Every author started with one sale…and a hunger for more.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is your audience.  One person, one sale, one spark will light the flame.  Be patient, not complacent, make changes when necessary, most importantly – don’t give up…hang on…it will be worth it.

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3 tips for authors of eBooks

As a new ePublisher, we were really excited to launch our website, first book, etc.  We planned carefully and made sure that readers could find the book on our site as well as Smashwords, Amazon, PubIt, etc.  We have an online presence already and we thought it would be easy to generate sales, but this wasn’t the case.  It was really discouraging to see minimal results.  It’s happening to a lot of authors (especially new ones) who elect to ePublish.  The good news is: we know why.  The bad news is: it takes a lot of work to correct the issue.

As an author, it is very empowering to know that you can control your pricing, profits, promotion and time to market, by ePublishing.  It is a much friendlier business model from an author’s perspective.  Additionally, anyone can do it.  You don’t have to wait for an agent, a publishing deal, and time in the queue.  Essentially, you can reduce your time to market by years when you ePublish.  Anyone can do it…which is the blessing and the curse.

As the market becomes more and more saturated with eBooks, it makes selling books more difficult.  Authors are not just competing with the hundreds of books on a shelf, but rather hundreds of thousands in the eBook space.  It is difficult to garner the attention of your target audience.  

When you are in the market for a printed book, it is likely that you have seen the cover, heard a review or buzz about it, and that it is easy to find by heading to a bookstore.  With eBooks, it is much more complicated than that.  You have to be willing to put yourself “out there.”  Here are 3 tips that can help:

Publicize your book using the mediums where your audience is. 

Do not skimp on the cover of your book

Don’t forget to ask people to buy it and make it easy for them to do that (buttons on blog, website, etc.)

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Why publish an eBook? 4 simple reasons

If you are a writer who is thinking about publishing, let me offer some reasons why you should ePublish…

  1. Time to market is shorter
  2. Barrier to entry is lower
  3. Emerging technology has eBooks outselling paper books, a trend that will grow
  4. It’s most ecofriendly publishing option

The number one reason that I recommend ePublishing is the time to market is significantly reduced with ePublishing (and as fast as the world is going, this is critical), it’s the option with a lower barrier to entry, which is important for new authors, and it’s the most ecofriendly way to publish.  Also, you have already established a brand online and that is where your connections expect to find you, so it’s a great fit.

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Even Amazon Shareholders Noticed…

When my partner suggested we pull Between Dreams off Amazon’s broad virtual shelf because they chose to publish a book I won’t name to avoid further promotion – I said yes.  On principle, yes even though I knew it would have the compounded effect of kicking Lady Liberty’s small toe.  So, I went searching for bigger impact.

At first, Amazon claimed they do not censor self published materials.  We of course know differently – there is a waiting period in which a key word search of the book is performed.    Amazon knows what’s in the materials.  An Amazon employee (s) chose to ignore internal standards and sell the book. 

When companies make this big of an error – a blatantly obvious violation of their principles – I want to know why.  I checked out  Amazon Investor Relations.  Here’s Amazon’s mission:   

We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company for three primary customer sets: consumer customers, seller customers and developer customers.

This time, the customers were in direct conflict.  What made Amazon see their error?  You did.  You set the standards.  Know that Amazon will be wrestling with this again today.  Why?

On Friday, while the broader market had a slight decline Amazon stock lost 2.75% of value – most of that in the afternoon as the outrage hit the mass media and investors reacted.  Corporations exist to maximize shareholder wealth and when they do things to destroy it – well that’s when they scramble to restore order. 

I am still a seller and consumer customer of Amazon.  People deserve second chances; companies deserve what they get based on their ability to respond to market demand.  I wanted to see an apology, I wanted a faster response and I really wanted to stop the pain it caused to so many.  My hope is Amazon takes this as an opportunity to hone their ability to listen to their customers.  We are navigating the new world of self publishing – there will be mistakes.  Hopefully this is one from which we learn.

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How can one new, small, entrepreneurial venture make a difference in the world…

One book, one dollar, one vote, one charity, one community at a time.  We are a small company and we HOPE you will join us in trying to make a big difference.  

You start by buying 1 book…we will donate $1 into a charity fund as a result, you get to vote for 1 charity to receive that fund, 1 charity will win and they will impact the community that is most important – the global community.  One step at a time.

Take the first step…oh and until Thanksgiving, it’s $2 into the charity fund…no, the book doesn’t cost more, we’re just making it easier to give more.  

Look at the summary, the reviews, and definitely ask if you have any questions :)  Also, if you like the book, the site, the concept…share it.  Please. 

www.SterlingHope.com

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Another Shift

US News & World Reports December Issue will be the last monthly edition of the magazine.  But talk about brand…these are the folks that rank colleges, careers, hospitals…  Their strategy has shifted to targeted placement of their in depth reports to appreciative audiences leaving the website for the masses.  Further blurring of the journalistic lines – it sounds like McKinsey & Co’s website.

Listening to an NPR interview of the editor one comment stood out.  In less than five years a walk through an airport will not include newsstands with rows of glossy covered magazines.  At the time – this summer – it was not clear what the replacement would be.  That was before the iPad and the new color Nook.  My, how a few months make a difference in technology, the affordability will soon follow.   

I am still trying to decide how I feel about that comment though.  Every fashion magazine is running an ad claiming magazines are really popular.  Subscriptions are growing.  Good, I believe in supply and demand.  But have to admit when we downsized four years ago, we eliminated subscriptions to magazines.  Supply in this case was limited space and demands were: dog toys, piano, favorite books and collection of art glass.  Maybe it was finally admitting that I would never wade through the back issues of Architectural Digest or perhaps the polite decline of the local librarian to take my sacred stash that made me realize magazine subscriptions were no longer a priority.  So, I stopped and shifted to online sources.  And after decades with a Vogue subscription – I still buy the mongo fall edition dog-earing the best pages.  But, I can do that with technology.  So what does that do to the magazines…take a page out of US News & World Reports’ play book…or the Wall Street Journal which I do subscribe to see full content.  Those who shift fastest…win.

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The New Deal for Charity – You can make a difference

The New Deal…yes more election play on words, but now that the election is over we are focused on Thanksgiving and what that could mean to one of the 3 charities that could receive the Sterling Hope Charity Fund.  Sterling Hope is all for a “New Deal” for charities, authors, and our global community.

The concept of Sterling Hope came about because Kay Whitaker and I wanted to publish her book Between Dreams – 2012 and we wanted to make a difference to our global community.   There are many companies out there that give to charity (especially companies with big budgets and big sales). That isn’t Sterling Hope…yet, but what we do is give a significant portion of our profits to the Sterling Hope Charity Fund and everyone who purchases gets a vote.

Normally, $1 for each purchase goes into the charity fund, but from today until 11:59pm on November 25th, $2 per purchase will go into the fund.  Our hope is that this will lead to greater results for the charity that receives the most votes.  You will still receive 1 vote for your purchase, but if someone else purchases using your referral link, then your charity gets an extra vote!  So which charity will you choose: Best Friends Animal Society, CARE, or charity:water?  More information on all three can be found on SterlingHope.com

So…when you are ready to curl up with your Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. and a good book, buy Between Dreams -2012 and make a difference.  Amazing you can do that from wherever you are.  Oh, I almost forgot, in order for the $2 to go into the charity fund…you don’t have to do a thing🙂 No mailing a label, entering a code, or anything else.  Make your purchase and we will handle the rest!  At the time of this posting, we had sold 10 books on SterlingHope.com and there is $10 in the Charity Fund.  On November 26th we will double whatever amount is in the fund (because it seems like the right thing to do for those first 10 purchasers and for whichever charity wins!)

Still on the fence about this book? Check out my review and take a look at the reviews on the SterlingHope.com.

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