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On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.
I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.
How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)
I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.
Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?
I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?
Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.
Ask the reader.
So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.
For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.
The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day. 🙂
Let me introduce you to Kickstarter, the venture capital site for creative projects. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. www.kickstarter.com
Kickstarter says it is “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.”
Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.
Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.
We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.
Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.
No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.
Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.
If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.
In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.
We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!
Are you working on a novel? Is it taking forever to complete? Are you growing weary of working on it?
Take a break and write a short story with one or more of the same characters in your book. You may find it helpful in more ways than you think possible. First, it is a diversion from your novel, yet keeps the characters of the novel fresh in your mind. Second, sale of the short story assists the sales of your novel when you release it. Third, you can sell your short story for supplemental income.
West Virginia author Lauren Carr created a 7,000 word short story called “Lucky Dog.” The dog in the story, named Gnarly, is a regular character in her Mac Faraday mystery series. She intended to print the story as a promotional giveaway during book fairs. A series of fortunate events led her to e-publish the story for $.99. Since then, her short story sales have pushed her novel sales up in multiples. (Visit her web page at http://mysterylady.net/Mac_Faraday_Books.html.)
The short story, sold at a low price point, gets your work into the hands of readers unfamiliar with you. If they like your story, they will look for more works written by you. In Carr’s experience, readers who liked Gnarly, the” Lucky Dog,” bought her mystery books that featured Gnarly. The sale of the short story ended up boosting the sales of her novels.
That’s called smart marketing!
How timely that I should get this little note from JK Bradley this morning:
Fay, this is a great start for a story. You’ve built a nice amount of intrigue by setting up this mystery. However the voting works out, here’s what I think, you should use this story and work with it. Maybe put out 500 or so words every couple of days for your followers. It’s really good.
What he doesn’t know is that I will be submitting the piece to the writers group next week. I wrote it so it will stand alone as a piece of sudden fiction.
However, to keep the juices flowing, I may follow his advice. My mind loves games, and by playing along on this one, I could end up with another short story to publish. What do you think? Would you like to play along, too? You can trick yourself out of that dry spot and get a short story done to boot. We can team tag for each other.
Here’s the link — http://thebradleychronicles.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/indie-500/
Note: To boot — I say this colloquialism a lot, but never give a thought to its origins or if this is the correct spelling. I’ll have to research that little phrase.
P.S. After a week of frosty mornings, it’s warm again. Peas, pole beans, lettuce and radishes have popped. I’m waiting on spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, kale and brussel sprouts. Looks like the grapes took a hit and got frostbitten. Time will tell.
The writers group to which I belong is moving ahead on its anthology. What started out as a collection of fictional stories, each under 300 words, has morphed into something else. Now there will be microfiction, flash fiction, short non-fiction, short short stories and poetry.
One of the members expressed concern that some works may not be as polished or sophisticated as others. Certainly, in any anthology, there is a diversity of styles, if not themes.
It was decided at last week’s meeting that the works would be grouped by author. That seems sensible. It allows an audience to sample a couple of pieces by an author and move on, if that author doesn’t suit the reader’s taste. If the reader likes what an author writes, then there will be several choice morsels to sample.
For every writer, there is a reader.
Some writers have broad appeal, usually because they are skilled, talented, clever. They also have a knack to figure out and write what will be popular. Nevertheless, I contend that every writer can find an audience, even if it is an audience of one.
Some of the group members have a spiritual slant. Some are noir, fathoming the depths of human nature. Some are innocent or inspirational or comic or macabre. The collection will run the gamut.
Therefore, I choose not to worry about what is included in the anthology. What another author writes is not a reflection on me. My work stands or falls on its own merit.
Some readers will like my stuff. Others will hate it. To each his own.
The next squabble will likely be over the order of the authors and their work. That may be the fodder for a future post.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso
In a previous post, I linked to Ryan Tracy’s Tips and Tricks for Self-Publishers, Part 4. His post gives some advice (learned from his own experience as an author selling on Amazon.com) for authors who have completed writing and editing and are ready to upload a book to Amazon.com. He suggests practices to get the most out of marketing your e-book.
I adore the simplicity of his premise: use all the bells and whistles available to you to tell the world about you and your book. Sometimes simple gimmicks make extraordinary differences. So try them.
The average e-book author who is independently published sells a mere 45 copies per title. Use Ryan’s suggestions to take yourself out of average status into the stellar sphere. In his words:
“Another tactic I think is often overlooked is to take advantage of all the bells and whistles on your book’s profile page on Amazon. For example:
• Solicit “likes” and customer reviews.
• Activate Look Inside the Book.
• Upload customer images.
• Add keyword tags.
• Add book extras via Shelfari.
• Create an author page.”
In case you missed Ryan’s post the first time, you may read it in its entirety here:
If you are over 39, and you want to remain relevent in business or in a creative field, you better read Gen Y Girl Kayla Cruz’s link below. Watch the video. It is a MUST.
If you are over 39 and unemployed, you are apt to stay that way unless you embrace the way of the world. Technology is rapidly changing the way business is conducted and the way people communicate.
Finally, if you are writing a book set in 2012, you better understand modern culture. If you have your twenty- or thirty-something character spending time on e-mail primarily using a laptop, you are so out of touch. Your credibility will be negatively affected. Or your character may be viewed as social awkward.
As a member of the over 39 club, I learn and re-learn till my head hurts.
Click on the link. Please take a moment to read the tactic used by the author to capture this real life Bambi Ballet. For authors who wish to sell magazine articles, acquiring photography skills can enhance your earnings. A friend of mine sells articles to several sailing magazines. She has learned to be a good photographer. Now she sells photographs with her articles. Consequently, she has doubled her earnings.
The “Flying Reindeer” author talks about animal photography and a trick he learned on the fly. It’s a simple tool to add to your writer’s tool box.