Tag Archives: market

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball


It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.

Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.

Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.

However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.

I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.

I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .

Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.

Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?

As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


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.  🙂

Turning Your Manuscript into an Audiobook


Turning Your Manuscript into an Audiobook.

My daughter is a busy lady. She was telling me recently about several books she wants to read. She lamented that she doesn’t have time.

“Now if the author put the book out as an audiobook, then I’d buy it and listen in the car.”

Bingo!

I forget that audiobooks are another avenue for reaching the public. Like paperbacks or e-books, it’s another version to sell to broaden your audience. Sell more by releasing your book in an audiobook format.

Click the link at the top of this post for more information.

Even the Wealthy Take a Beating in Real Estate


GOSSIP ALERT!

Every once in a while, I love to throw in juicy pop culture gossip. It just so happens that I stumbled upon a couple of tidbits that compliment my own post  today on real estate woes of the common man.  This nosey news is from The Real Estalker:

(Writers take note of the gossip columnist style. There is a market for this kind of writing.)

We first heard it from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills and then we received a covert communique from a well-connected insider—let’s call him Charlie Chitchatter—who snitched that magically mercurial Oscar-nominated actress Sharon Stone has done sold a five-ish acre estate in Beverly Hills, CA that Your Mama first discussed way back in December 2006 when it popped up on the open market with a starry-eyed $12,500,000 asking price.

After many fits and starts, countless price reductions and at least one high-paying rental tenancy, Miz Stone—who never, as far as we know, actually occupied the property—has sold the neo-Mediterranean style compound for, according to documentation provided by Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, $6,595,000.

That’s a whole lotta dough by any standard but it’s also almost half Miz Ston’s original asking price and represents, as per our bejeweled abacus, a bank account flogging $4,400,000 loss. Ouch!

And this:

Over the weekend, while Your Mama did some peeping and poking around in the property records regarding the John Lautner-designed Bob and Delores Hope house in Palm Springs, CA that recently and very quietly available through an upscale Beverly Hills brokerage with—so the rumor goes—an astronomical $45,000,000 asking price, we happened across documentation that reveals the sublime and much-lauded four time Emmy winning actress Allison Janney (West Wing, Juno, The Help) owned a house just down the street from the Hope house that—quelle horror—she lost to unforgiving maw of foreclosure in September or October 2012.

On this one, there’s going to be a loss by someone who makes his living flipping houses — on TV no less:

On the currently airing sixth season of the reality program Flipping Out, sometimes temperamental house flipper and sassy-pants Bravolebrity Jeff Lewis bought a 1940s traditional on Spring Oak Drive in Los Angeles, CA without telling his much younger and punctiliously primped live-in man-friend—and employee—Gage Edward who at least acted for the cameras as if he were none too pleased with the behind-his-back acquisition.*

Property records show the Spring Oak Drive domicile, located on narrow cul-de-sac in the Bronson Canyon area of Los Angeles, was acquired by Mister Lewis—and only Mister Lewis—in April (2012) for $1,350,000. Yesterday—sixth months and an extensive and expensive renovation later—the property is back on the open market with an only slightly higher asking price of $1,450,000.

Finally, here’s one where the tenant (Cee Lo Green) moved out in order to rent smaller digs (a trend these days among the common folk as well) and the landlord has taken repeated hits to his wallet in losses on sales. It just goes to show ya, it’s tough out there!

Since at least March 2011 rapper, songwriter, music producer and televised singing contest judge Cee Lo Green* (The Voice) leased a 4,200-ish square foot residence just above the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA owned—as it turns out—by actor, race car driver and indie pop rock band drummer Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle, the Agent Cody Banks franchise).

Howevuh hunnies, according to our always so freakishly well-informed friend and aide-de-camp Lucy Spillerguts Mister Green recently decamped Mister Muniz’s updated 1941 traditional for a smaller, more contemporary crib in the so-called Bird Streets ‘hood** high above the Sunset Strip. . .

. . .Mister Muniz is well known among celebrity property watchers and real estate gossips as a relatively frequent shuffler of the cards in his property portfolio. He once owned a house just above the Sunset Strip he sold to Halle Berry in 2005 for $5,995,000 and in 2004 he spent $4,650,000 on a low-slung modern on Blue Jay Way that he sold the following year for $3,900,000.

In the early days of 2006 Mister Muniz dropped $3,499,000 for the Sunset Strip house that, until recently, was rented by Cee Lo Green but is now back up for sale at $3,195,000 and is also listed to lease at $14,000 per month.

Think Big–The World Is Your Market


Books are luxuries. In really tough times, in struggling economies, households spend money on necessities, which normally do not include books. Books on the dollar table in retail outlets or the $.99 list on e-sellers may be an occasional exception.

So if times are tough at home, where can an author go to sell books?

Answer: Go where the money is.

Today the money is in places many American authors may overlook as markets: Singapore, Australia, Scandinavia, Czech Republic. These are places where economies are healthy, stable.

Armstrong Economics reports:

Last year, Singapore’s GDP per capita was about $57,000. In 1965, it was about $493. On GDP per capita, it has comfortably surpassed Australia in wealth. Singapore is on the rise to rapidly become the world’s wealthiest country.

Southeast Asia is emerging as the bright spot is an otherwise darkening global future.

You, as writer, are in the business of selling your material. Keep your mind open to possibilities.

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!