Want to learn the ropes of the writing/ publishing business? Want to work from home? Then you need this! Top Selling Mystery author Lauren Carr is going to be teaching all this and more in historic Harpers Ferry, outside Washington, D. C., in March 2015.
Here’s an excerpt from her e-mail!
BIG NEWS: I have just scheduled to conduct a SIX HOUR workshop in March at the church called: AUTHORS IN BATHROBE. I am still working out the details, but this workshop will break book promotion down into an understandable format for writers. Even if your book is not out yet, then this will include things that you can do now to get the ball rolling for sales when you book is released.
Focused completely on using the internet to promote your book and your writing career, the workshop will include no less than an hour on Twitter and an hour Facebook. (My own sales drop 10-20 percent on days I don’t tweet!) It will discuss the importance of a website and how to set one up without breaking your budget. What is a blog? What goes into a blog post. Virtual book tours. It will even cover the basics of an author bio and what makes a good profile pic.
It will be 9 to 4 on Saturday, March 21. Lunch will be included. Price is still being determined.
You are the first to hear this, so spread the word.
Uber thanks to Cindy for sharing with us on a topic I know absolutely nothing about, but which is getting more and more important for authors. It’s all about exposure. (Cue face blushing.) Um, let me rephrase. It’s all about putting it out there. (Cue redder face blushing.) Big gulp. It’s about creating a video trailer to promote your book via YouTube and other video sites. Take it away, Cindy:
Have you taken a look at the book trailers on YouTube? Some are really cool, terrific graphics, very exciting. And some are well…not so cool. Book trailers are the latest tool for authors to use to put their books in front of potential audiences. Great! Another way to advertise my book—Lord knows drawing readers in is a major obstacle for authors, and a book trailer may just be the boost that my novel or series needs, right?
Whoa! Slow down cowboy, because I’ve got a tale to tell, and it ain’t pretty. My first book DEADLY.COM was getting ready to release last September, and I just couldn’t wait. I knew exactly how to get the proper attention for my new series—a book trailer! Hey, if Spielberg can do it, so can I.
The trap was set. Me—the idiot—was going to set out to film a book trailer. So, I rented a fellowship hall at a church, and then I placed this ad on Craig’s List for an actor:
Audition on June 22 for an actor: Dark-haired ruggedly good-looking between the ages of 25-30 to film a book trailer. Will provide food, and a DVD as payment. Please send resume and a head shot with response. Will provide time and location for audition, if qualified.
Wow! I got quite a few responses—who knew there were so many good-looking men out there willing to work for food and a DVD? Impressed? Don’t be. Only three of the twelve actors that qualified for the part actually showed up, and let’s just say that pictures can be VERY deceiving!
The first actor that showed up right on time for the audition did indeed have dark hair. He was more photogenic than he was good-looking, but that wasn’t the biggest problem. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he weighed about one-ten. He was a pip-squeak, and his acting skills were….to be kind…not very good.
The second actor that walked through the door did not fit the bill at all. In fact, he had sent in a bogus head shot just to get an audition! The man must have been sixty-five, although he claimed to be forty-two. When I explained to him that he was simply too old, and too grey, and too wrinkled, he said, “I’m an actor, honey. I can act younger.” Seriously, buddy? Needless to say, he was asked to leave…quickly.
Ahhh, but the third actor that came through the door was just right. He was tall, dark, and very ruggedly handsome, and his acting was much better than the first. Good thing, because they were the only three to show up for the audition.
Okay, cut me a break, Spielberg probably gets a much better turn-out when he holds auditions, but this wasn’t a shot at fame and fortune—it was food and a DVD. Anyway, this was working! So, I rounded up a film crew, rented camera equipment, and went to a nearby stable that had white fencing for as far as the eye could see to ask permission to film. They were thrilled to let me film. I own a horse farm, but my fencing is black, and in my book series, Westwood Thoroughbred Farm has white fencing—details, have to stick with the details.
Viola! I was ready, and on a sunny, hot day last July I met my camera crew and the handsome actor at the farm to film the trailer. I had a blast! I was doing something that I had never done before. As a professional dancer and choreographer for twenty-six years, I had worked many stage productions, but this was an entirely different ball game—or should I say “project”. It took a mere two hours to film the short trailer, and within two weeks the trailer was on YouTube. God, did it stink! It was awful! At my publishing manager’s request, I removed it from cyber space.
Okay, now I’ve written two more books of The Unbridled Series, HOT COCO and Dangerous Deception, and I really, really, want one of those cool book trailers, but what’s an author to do? Those baby’s are expensive. But then out of the blue the break that I’d been waiting for happened: One of my FB friends who is also an author posted a link to a website where you can make banners and trailers. I was on it within moments, www.bannersnack.com. My daughter and I made a trailer for Dangerous Deception,HOT COCO, and then one for my first book of the series, DEADLY.COM—they turned out great! Hey, they were cool! But they didn’t have any background music—bummer. So my daughter started playing around with the Windows media file right on my lap top—she made two fabulous trailers right there on the lap top with terrific music for the background. It was easy, it was free, and I was so much happier with result. We uploaded them onto YouTube. Who knew? Oh well, lessons learned.
Am I getting the exposure that I so desired when I filmed that disastrous trailer? Well…no, but I’ve got two book trailers that I’m very happy with, and my daughter and I had an absolute blast creating them.
We’re not done yet. My next book from The Unbridled Series, AGAINST THE ROPES, is set to release in June, my daughter and I will be creating a trailer for the new book very soon, and you will be able to find it on the “coming soon” tab on my website—an excerpt from the book is already there for you to read.
If you’ve been thinking about a trailer for your upcoming book or one that you’ve already published, I hope that I’ve given you the tools to create one. And if you do, have a great time!
Independent authors are rallying around the controversial 99-cent price point. Some authors feel the 99-cent price point devalues their hard work, while others feel that readers will not take a chance on new authors at a higher price point.
Readers are scooping up ebooks for 99 cents, that alone speaks of a demand for material at that price point.
Let’s look at the dollars and cents of the 99-cent price point for independent authors. If an author is self-published through Amazon KDP, he or she earns 34 cents per 99-cent book sold. Not only do authors put time and energy into their writing, there are other associated costs to publishing a quality book, including cover artists ($125-3000), editors ($800-5000), marketing, etc. If you add up the average cover cost of $350, average editing job of $1400, then divide by 34 cents, the author would have to sell 5,134 books just to break even.
A self-published author that sells 100,000 ebooks at 99 cents, earns an annual salary of $34,000. However, the average new author, after spending a year writing the book, will sell less than 100 copies. That’s $34, tops, in exchange for a year of the writer’s life.
If that same author is published through a small press and sells 100,000 copies, that author earns $12,000. To earn $40,000 per year, that author would have to sell 333,333 books per year. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are only 30 authors who have sold over 100,000 copies of their books, and only a dozen who have sold over 200,000.
Why, then, do authors post their books at such a low price?
Darcie Chan, bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse, states, “Since I had never published anything before and was completely unknown as a writer, I thought the 99-cent price point would be best to encourage readers to give my novel a chance. It’s true that the royalty rate at that price point is much lower, but I saw foregoing some royalty income as a tradeoff. I decided that the 99-cent price would be an investment in my future writing endeavors and would give me the best chance at meeting my goals of gradually building a readership and getting some feedback on my work.”
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me.
Wow! In my little writer’s hideaway, I got a phone call to tell me the newspaper interview was published March 3. Not only was it printed in the local newspaper, but it is available on-line, too. The link is above. I don’t know how long they keep on-line articles floating in web-space, so look now.
(The photo was taken by staff photographer Joe Crocetal of The Herald-Mail newspaper in Maryland. The dark-haired one on the top left of the overhead shot is me.)
We received 5 pages of publicity in the on-line article. How lovely!
In case you are hearing about this for the first time, let me give you background. I am a member of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. We published an anthology in late December 2012. The book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (on-line only) at a very affordable price. If you have an interest in a sneak preview, click the Amazon link below. The Barnes and Noble link is also available for you with Nook readers.
Ten Advantages to Having a Mystery Author for a Friend (in person or on Facebook).
If you’re ever locked out of your home, your mystery author friend will know best how to break in.
Who better to show you where best to conceal a weapon?
At Pampered Chef’s parties, they are very handy in detailing what kitchen utensils make the best weapons for use in self-defense … just in case your family launches a coup after serving them your world infamous tuna casserole once too often.
Mystery authors are less sappy at conferences than Romance authors. We don’t hug as much. That isn’t because we’re standoffish. It’s because we don’t want you to detect our concealed weapons. Since we don’t hug as much, this means we don’t spread as many germs and you’re less likely to catch a cold when you get home.
Mystery authors are more exciting. They are the only friends able to plot out your murder and list your friends and family as suspects in order of interest when you’re fifteen minutes late for lunch. (If your friend reveals that the babysitter did it, you may want to take a closer look at the sitter’s text messages.)
During those paranoid moments when you think your next door neighbor is a mob assassin because he has been acting suspicious, your mystery writing buddy is the one friend you can count on to not only support your belief, but break into his house to illegally search it for proof. Of course, you can depend on your friend to bring the lock pick kit and know how to use it. (Don’t ask her how she knows how to use it.)
If your spouse leaves you for another woman, your mystery author friend can advise you on how to fake your death and make it look like he killed you so that he will spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did.
Your mystery author friend is more than happy to run a background check on that new mate you met online.
On that first date, you can count on your mystery writing friend to tail you and your date all evening to make sure you don’t end up in a plot for their latest book … whether you want her to or not.
We know what countries don’t have extradition.
So make a Mystery Writing friend today! I’d love to make your acquaintances at any of my sites:
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.
After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!
Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.
In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. “Readers love to be surprised,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.”
Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.”
What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”
Available through: CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold
About the Author
Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 1012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
Without any serious marketing as such, Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe (Hmmmm. Is that singular or plural?) has sold 35 copies of the anthology to date.
And there are two reviews written and posted on Amazon.com. Reading the reviews was exciting. It gave insight and feedback to us on our work.
The sales break down like this:
Amazon.com 34 copies sold
Barnes & Noble 1 copy sold
Several copies have been purchased by the dining patrons of the Desert Rose Cafe. Owner Rose Harris reported there is a lively interest in the book and how the group came to publish it.
Perhaps, in the near future, there will be a “Meet the Writers” event, which may garner a bit of newspaper coverage. That event, or a complimentary newspaper article, may yield a couple of more sales.
What can be done now to sell books?
I have to buckle down and prepare press releases. All of the writers group members need to promote the book on their own social media, blog or web site. This year, I postponed sending out my Christmas letter. I want to write a New Year’s letter and include a promotional blurb in it about the book. Next, I need to put on my thinking cap to figure out other ways to exploit the “local writer” designation.
In sales, they teach you to sell first to family, then to friends or acquaintances, then to neighbors or the local market, then beyond. Until a writer has established himself, the likeliest buyer is someone who knows him or knows of him.
Finally, I need to utilize the “store” component here on WordPress. Obviously, visitors to this site should be able to buy the book.
The lesson in all of this?
Sales don’t magically happen for an author. To sell books, an author has to promote his or her books. That means getting creative so that whatever selling the writer does is effective and affordable.
Writers hate marketing. However, it is a necessary evil, especially for the new author.
Don’t overlook the sales that can be generated by friends or family. Word of mouth is always the best sales tool. A person who reads and likes your book is the most credible advertiser. Ask for help to promote your book.
I would love to hear from other independent authors about the success you’ve had selling your books. Please share the lessons you’ve learned, the mistakes you’ve made or the tactics that have succeeded. In what venue did you sell the majority of your books? Where did things fizzle? What was hard? What worked well?
For my science fans, here’s a nugget about a celestial show you may want to watch.
Comet PANSTARRS: March 10 to 24, 2013
Comet PANSTARRS discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope at Haleakala, Hawaii, is expected to put on its best show during this two-week period. During this time, the comet will also be near its closest approaches to the sun (28 million miles, or 45 million kilometers), and Earth (102 million miles, or 164 million km). While Comet PANSTARRS was a very dim and distant object at the time of its discovery, it has brightened steadily since then. It still appears on target to reach at least first magnitude and should be visible low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset. On the evening of March 12, 2013, the comet will be situated 4 degrees to the right of an exceedingly crescent moon.
Why mention this now instead of in March?
Because, for those of you who write for social media like Yahoo news or e-How, now you have a time critical subject to research, write about, and sell! If you are unfamiliar with this market, as easy place to start is ezinearticles.com. Click here for the editorial guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/
Ezinearticles doesn’t pay for articles, but it does offer affiliate marketing. Advertisers link to your articles and you get paid for click throughs. It’s not big or easy money, but it is a place to start to learn the ropes.
Check out Associated Content. It pays for articles outright.
If you are a blogger, get paid to post at Blogger’s Pay Per Post. There are strings attached, but you can earn from $.50 to $10. per assignment piece.
Bukisa is a traffic driven buyer. So you have to write on popular topics to draw a paycheck. However, Bukisa allows you to re-post material that has been published elsewhere. So using Bukisa can double earnings on non-exclusive material.
This gives you plenty to start your at-home writing career. So start researching that comet heading our way, write an article or two, and sell, sell, sell.
I got a phone call today from Acorn Book Service that the Anthology has been uploaded to Amazon.com. I don’t think the book is immediately available for sale. Rather, the internal processes inside Amazon.com get set into motion by uploading the manuscript.
Similarly, the book will be uploaded to Barnes & Noble by next week.
Smashwords, I’m told, is much more user friendly, so I will work with one of the other members to upload the manuscript to Smashwords ourselves. That will be a learning experience. Smashwords is a distributor to other e-book retail outlets.
Amazon.com uses a .mobi file format. Barnes & Noble and Smashwords use .epub files. That is one of the services Acorn Book Services provides to the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, taking our .doc file and converting it to e-publishing-ready formats.
Next comes the marketing learning curve.
I will share with you how things progress. I’ll share what I learn and the mistakes I make. We’ll learn together about this thing called self-publishing via the e-book.
I used that quotation in yesterday’s response to Rarasaur. Immediately, I knew I had to share a motivational thought with you.
Having several irons in the fire can be a good thing, providing you are continually working to complete the projects. Eventually, you will finish a project, then another, then another. As a writer, this means that you will end up with several salable items.
This tactic only works for folks like me whose brains like to jump from one thing to another to avoid boredom. It won’t work for those who start things, but never finish them. You have to finish the projects. It’s finishing them that brings a pay day.
Rarasaur has a good method. She has a list and a concrete goal for each item listed; for example, creating one idea a day for thirty days for a book project. At the end of a month, she will have thirty possibilities to consider for her next writing project. Of the thirty on her list, one is bound to seize her imagination.
You may want to try the “many irons” approach to see if it works for you. The key to success is devising your own method to complete the projects on your list.
Today I found the blog of “Ink Slinger in Inner Space” Karen Gadient. She is both author and graphic designer. A single post on her blog stimulated this entry. Karen designed the cover jacket for a recently released science fiction book.
Stimulating Thought Number One: Here’s another source for an illustrator for either cover design or for the innards of a picture book. Mark this post for future reference. Karen has a portfolio tab on her blog. I loved the quality and detail of her art. The art on the book cover shows another dimension to her style–her diversity–since the cover is completely different from the illustrations in her portfolio.
Stimulating Thought Number Two: Karen provides a link to the young author’s promotional video trailer for his book. What?! Promotional video??? I thought video trailers were solely for hyping movies or rock albums. What do I know? Not much, evidently. Now young authors are using YouTube and such to distribute promotional videos touting their books. Brilliant. Free Advertising. And if you are clever or creative enough, you sell books!
Stimulating Thought Number Three: An author can ask for money for marketing from the public. Karen introduced me to Kickstarter, a web site devoted to connecting artists of all sorts with persons interested in funding the arts. Indie authors needn’t starve to promote a quality project. But I’ll write more about Kickstarter in a future post.
Wow, Karen! All those great ideas from a single post! Thank you!