Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Halloween Indie Author Promotion Call

Hey, Indie Authors!!

CHANGE: I've decided to showcase illustrators and artists as well. Follow the instructions below and I'll attach you to one of the days!

I'm doing a really fun promotion on my blog leading up to Halloween, mainly to help advertise the release of three new novelettes in my Katon University series. (Teen horror: Whistle, and I'll Come, Britnell Manor, and The Music of Anna Morse.) I'm super excited!

Here's how it's going to go:

Each day, or a few days a week (depending on how many people respond), I'll feature a Halloween-themed book, novella, short story, etc., on my blog, along with a very short interview of the author (short as in two questions with their answers).

What do I mean by Halloween themed? Anything and everything that can be thought of as Halloweenish! This would include horror, scary books, vampires, ghosts, witches, zombies, ghouls, monsters, spooky things, etc. If you are wondering if your book would work, shoot me an email. Romance would be fine, but there has to be some scariness in the story, brought on by the "Halloween theme." Halloween-type comedies are also fine.

Note: Your book doesn't have to happen around Halloween time. If it does, that's great! If it doesn't, that's perfectly fine too.

Right now, I'm putting a cap on how many books an author can submit - just two, which will be featured on separate days. I'll email participating authors if that goes up to three. Also, if I have a lot of responses, I'll probably feature two books (from separate authors) a day, in the same post. Which would be great for you - you'd overlap with another author and their promotions. :-)

If you're interested, send me an email with all of the following for each book (if you don't include something, I'll just ask you where it is, so include it the first time):

1. Cover for your book - a good-quality one (send it to me in an attachment - don't make me go searching for it. ;-) I use Linux, so don't have to worry about viruses. If I have problems with the download, though, I'll let you know)
2. Blurb for the book (no more than 100 words. I'll ask authors to shorten as needed)
3. Purchase links (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Amazon)
4. Rating for your book (as in, movie rating: G, PG, PG13, R, and which ages you feel would most appreciate it)
5. Answers (no more than 50 words) to two of the following questions (include both questions in your email):

(If you're an artist, tweak the wording)

Why did you choose to self-publish?
What advice do you have for those wanting to self-publish?
What is your favorite Halloween story/movie, and why?
When did you discover your passion for writing?
What was your favorite costume as a child, and do you still dress up?
What has worked the best for you as an Indie author (when it comes to being successful)?

Several things to note:
PLEASE read these carefully! :-)
  • The two stories you submit can be any length: full-length novel, novella, novelette, or short story.
  • They must be self-published.
  • Coupons and sales would be a great idea. Include the necessary information in your email to me (if the book is usually one price, but it'll be a different price for the promotion, etc.)
  • Short stories can be in anthologies, but the anthology must be Halloween themed.
  • An anthology/compilation of two full-length books would count as your two. Anything with more than two books (50,000 words each, give or take) won't be accepted. I'd suggest submitting the books separately, so you get more air time.
  • If you submit more than one book, I'll put links to the other in each post.
  • For each book, give me the above information. You can use the same questions/answers twice if you'd like, or you can answer two new ones for the second book.
  • Tell me which order you want the books in (for example, if you have a series - let me know which is the first book).
  • If you have a preference for a day, let me know, and I'll do my best to honor it (no promises, though, and first-come, first-serve). Similarly, if you'd like your days to be on back-to-back days, let me know, and I'll do my best to arrange that.
  • If you include a coupon, make sure it doesn't expire until at least a week after Halloween (for late comers).

Send this post to as many authors as you can - the more who participate, the better this will be for everyone. It also goes without saying that I'd expect you to do promotion for your day - I won't be able to reach nearly as many people as all of us together.

Clear as mud? :-) Leave any questions you have in the comments below, or ask in your email to me. :-)

DEADLINE: As soon as possible!

I'm super excited!!! :-)

For those of you who'd like double exposure during the months of October and November, check out this Indie Author Event over on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Traditional Publish = Vanity Publishing

I'll be signing in the Sandy Costco the following days:

Monday, September 10, 2012 from 12:00 to 4:00pm
Monday, September 24, 2012 from 12:00 to 4:00pm

Click the link above to get the address. We wanted more days, but September is a very busy month for Costco, and they're working with several companies to get authors in for signings.

Can't wait to see you there!

On to the topic for today's blog post.

I read an interview a while back of an author who said she considered traditional publishing to be vanity publishing. "Oh? You're with such and such publisher (or are self-published)? Well, I'm with this publisher."

I can't remember who the author was or where I found the interview, but the idea really stayed with me, and I truly believe she was right in many, if not most, cases. Now the Huffington Post has made the same statement, (the title of their post is "The New Vanity Publishing: Traditional Publishing") and authors are reacting. (In this article, one person gives several reasons why the statement is true. Read it. It's short and good. Then come back. :-))

I understand why authors would want or need a traditional publisher - not everyone is cut out for self-publishing. But, as the author of the article, Bernard Starr, says, "When you go the traditional-publishing route, you may well find yourself self-publishing without the benefits of self-publishing." Read the article to see what he's talking about.

So, what are the benefits of self-publishing? Here's one: sales. So many traditionally published authors don't get many sales. Another benefit? Real-time reporting on those sales. Most of my author friends will never know how many books they sold. They have to trust that their publisher is reporting things correctly. Another benefit: excellent royalties (30-80% royalties versus the 5-17% in traditional publishing). And so, so many others. It constantly amazes me when people turn away from these things. They say, "Only 1% of self-published authors ever go really big. I've got a better chance in traditional publishing." But if you pay attention to the most recent traditionally published bestsellers, you'll find that the majority of them got started - made a name for themselves - in self-publishing.

Traditional publishers focus on a book for only a short time, then drop it completely, moving on to new authors. Many times, the book hasn't had the chance it deserves to grow in popularity before it is removed from shelves, and any backing the publisher gave it shifts to the next author's book. The book is considered a flop and is permanently on a writer's record. Many authors have to use a pen name to avoid being recognized for having a book that failed. In self-publishing, this doesn't happen. Authors recognize the length of time it often takes for a book to be cultivated into a bestseller, and they're willing to wait for it to happen.

Mr. Starr says, "First-time authors and those struggling to find a publisher should seriously consider self-publishing," and "self-publishing does not close the door on traditional publishing."

He talks about how self-published authors are being hand-selected by traditional publishers, given huge advances, and have actual marketing plans written up and put in place.

As Penguin CEO John Makinson said: "Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry."

It's a no brainer to me. Find a traditional publisher (if that's your goal) by self-publishing. Make a name for yourself that traditional publishers won't be able to ignore. And get paid while you're doing it. You may find yourself so content in that position, you won't want to sign the contract when the time comes.

In the News:

Is self-publishing the lazy way out?
"Bestselling American crime novelist Sue Grafton has back-pedaled on her description of self-published authors as 'too lazy to do the hard work' following disbelief and anger from the independently published community." Read more of the Guardian article here. (I appreciate Sue Grafton's response to the outcry.)

Beware the companies that want to help you self-publish!
"As with any case where something hard for one person is easy for someone else, businesses have sprung up to take advantage of that in return for a cut of the royalties." (Read more here. Seriously, be incredibly wary of any company that wants to help you self-publish.)

Publishing Is Broken, We're Drowning In Indie Books - And That's A Good Thing
Okay, I can't give a good enough summary for this article - there are too many excellent points. It's fairly long, but incredibly good, and will be well worth your time.