Tag Archives: independent

The Newspaper Inter-view


One of our Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe members started the ball rolling on marketing. He used an inside contact to connect me to the head librarian in charge of programming. That conversation led me to volunteer our writers for library programs. The librarian offered to refer news of the release of  Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology to her press contact at the local newspaper. Consequently, a reporter from the Lifestyles section called me to schedule an interview.

I invited our publisher Acorn Book Services to attend the interview. This turned out to be a good move for many reasons that I’ll share in a minute. My thought when inviting the publisher was as a thank you for helping us and sharing a bit of the limelight.

During the course of an hour-long interview, I learned that the reporter attended the same seminar at the library where I first collected names to form Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. That coincidence warmed him to us because he had first hand knowledge of our origins. That piqued his curiosity about how we moved from a start-up organization to a published entity in a relatively short period.

Further, the reporter was on a first-name basis with our publisher. The publisher offered to place an advertisement on the same page as the article in the newspaper. That financial incentive is apt to generate a better place on the page and a longer article than our group would get on its own. The reporter also proposed sending a photographer to the next meeting to snap a some candid photographs of the working group to go with his article. Photos are eye-catching and will draw attention to the article.

Finally, our most organized member and I took the publisher to lunch after the interview to discuss costs for producing print versions of the book. That led to conversation about select members appearing at a writing seminar as members of a panel during a teaching segment. Mr. Organization will not let that opportunity fall through the cracks. He’ll stay on top of it to be sure the writers group seizes every chance to promote our endeavors.

Do you see how that works? Chances are if I cold-called either the library or the reporter directly, the response would have been less successful. But by networking through personal connections and utilizing the special talents within the group, Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe will get free publicity both through the news story and through the local speaking circuit.

Commercial success for writers is like success for politicians. It all starts locally.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the exposure translates to sales!

Anthology cover

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe–Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357500066&sr=1-1&keywords=writers+of+the+desert+rose+cafe

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983

From Dream to Reality


Dates don’t stick in my brain. That’s why I always disliked history classes. The tests seemed to focus on memorization of lots of dates. I was at an instant disadvantage. I would have preferred that the instructors focused on the lessons we can learn from history. If that had been the case, I likely would have majored in history. I love to learn. I hate memorization.

But I digress.

I was saying dates don’t stick in my brain. I can’t remember when I first decided that I would start a writers group. If I were to guess, I would say it was two years ago. About that time, I started attending writing workshops by mystery author Lauren Carr, hosted by different local libraries. In fact, it happened after the first Carr workshop, but before the second. At the second workshop is where I asked for anyone interested to give me his or her contact information.

It took a bit of time to find a meeting place. I had a list of 25 names. I had no idea how many would actually show up. Rose Harris, owner of a local coffee-house in historic Williamsport, MD, was willing to let the group use her back room free of charge two times per month. The local library also had a meeting room, but it was in high demand. The writers group may have to compete for meeting dates. That was no good. Plus, the library felt sterile. The vibe at the Desert Rose Cafe was nurturing, creative, friendly. As an added bonus, “the eats” were good and inexpensive.

Desert Rose Cafe TL

It was the vibe that made the decision for me.

Over time the group whittled down to a dozen, then ten regulars. The group was very diverse, from writing styles to personalities to topical interests. Yet we jelled. We shared work by reading aloud. We criticized (in a constructive way) and guided each other in developing our craft. We encouraged and inspired each other.

The restaurant hosted a writing contest, posting short works from the group in the dining room, asking diners to read and vote on a winner.

We all were winners, because, after the contest, we decided to put together the Anthology. We had faith we could create a collection of short works, edit them, compile them, then publish them in a period of about six months.

With the professional assistance  and coaching of Acorn Book Services in Harpers Ferry, WV, by December, 2012, the humble writers group–Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe–released its first e-book. The members range in age from 30 to 80-plus and live in a three state area.

One member with Asperger’s Syndrome remarked that the release date of the e-book was one of the greatest days in his life. During the course of writing for the Anthology, he made a decision to move out of his parents’ home and into his own apartment, so he could enroll in college. He is currently working on a solo writing project.

An administrator in the local library system called me a couple of days ago to express her surprise and joy that Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe had achieved its goal. She offered to help arrange publicity for the book through the local newspaper. In turn, I offered to promote the library workshops as wellsprings of creativity. Without the library’s workshop, the Anthology would never have been written.

An idea led to a call to action and resulted in the creation and e-printing of a publication. A young man’s life changed. Others came to see that setting a goal and working on it faithfully yielded results. Several are working on new solo projects.

Dreams do come true.

Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology, available from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble

Here

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe–Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357500066&sr=1-1&keywords=writers+of+the+desert+rose+cafe

or here

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983

Anthology Sales Update


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?

Talk to me.  I am all ears.

So the Story Goes


According to some, there was a large gathering of those prominent in the publishing industry in the year 1880. The guest of honor, John Swinton, was a leader at the New York Times and had a significant career in journalism behind him. Someone offered a toast to America’s independent press. The guest of honor retorted:

“There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

Get Money for Your Creative Project


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.”

How does Kickstarter work?

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.

Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

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.

Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

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.

What are the fees?

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.

Who is Kickstarter?

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!

Readers Want A “Fun, Fast Read”


E-reader owners share a common characteristic: as a group, they want a fun, fast read. Consequently, the length of the traditional novel is shrinking for e-books, from the print book standard of 80,000 to 120,000 words to the shorter e-book equivalent of 50,000 to 60,000.

E-reader owners often read on the fly–on the beach, on the plane, in the car, on the train, on vacation. These readers, as a group, prefer books that can be read quickly, in a day or two.

The new author who figures this out has a couple of advantages.

First, traditional print publishers are slow to offer titles in e-format. Print publishers dislike the e-publishing industry and resist aiding its development. Only best sellers in tree books get quickly converted to e-books. New authors who contract themselves to a traditional print publisher may never see their titles in e-format until their contract expires, reducing the writer’s exposure in the marketplace.

In negotiating terms with the traditional print publisher, new writers should retain e-book rights or require the return of the rights to the author if the print publisher doesn’t exercise the option to e-publish the book within a set time frame.

Second, an author can produce more material for sale in the e-book environment. In theory, a writer can produce two 50,000 word books in the same time it takes to create one 100,000 word manuscript. A smart writer will find a way to cut a longer manuscript into two connected stories, and have two stand alone books for sale simultaneously. Readers who like one book are going to buy the other.  It doubles the creator’s income.

Finally, readers who own electronic devices also buy short stories. A typical 7,000 word short story can be sold via e-booksellers like Amazon.com.

I hope you have found a few helpful strategies here for your own book business.

Sell Your Short Story–Boost Your Book Sales


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!