Category: Books -  L.A. Tripp
 
I've been in a conversation with a couple of fellow indie authors about this issue.

They are wondering, and maybe even scared, to use their free promo days that Amazon gives to us for participating in their Select program.

So, why would these authors be afraid to use something a book GIANT is giving to us?

The sad reality is, they feel like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Why? Because there are a ton of fellow indie authors that will tear you to shreds because you want to give a copy of your book away for promotional reasons.

Here's a dose of reality that those NEGATIVE indie authors either miss or choose not to see. Free promos work in EVERY field. I don't care if a laundromat gives away one load of laundry to lure people in, a supermarket gives away some small item to lure business in, or a car dealer gives away a free detail job or some service to lure people in. The end result is the same, regardless of the industry. The business GIVES AWAY something to HOPE FOR DOLLARS in return.

And you know what else? It...WORKS. If freebies didn't work, brick and mortar businesses would not continue doing it. Hell, even internet based businesses do it. David DeAngelo, who works in the dating and seduction field, or pick up artist field, frequently gives away great tidbits. You know what else? He makes more than anyone else in that field. To the tune of $20 million dollars each year. So again, bottom line, freebies WORK.

Now, many indie authors will tear you to shreds if they so much as HEAR that you want to run a free day promo. They will preach to you that you're devaluing all of our collective works. If that doesn't convince you not to do a free day, then you're just scum who can't write a lick to save your life.

Seriously, this is what we call SUPPORTING each other? I think not.

Who cares if you personally HATE the free days. You know what, the other author is not giving YOUR book away. Unless of course you have asked them to. They are trying to promote THEIR book. So lay off and learn how to actually show another human being some honest-to-God support.

Drop the jealousy you're feeling and show a fellow indie true support.

Here's another reality check. I've talked before about Pixel of Ink and ENT and how they are currently the only viable venues to really get your book noticed on a free day. Well...that's not exactly true. It is, but it isn't. The reality is, there are enough authors within the indie community that SAY they will do ANYTHING to support their fellow indies. Well, if all of these indie authors would put their mouse where their mouth is, we'd see a lot more ACTUAL support.

What do I mean? I don't mean you have to go out and spend your hard earned dollars, buying every book that your fellow authors publish. Not at all. And some of you just ignored that last line. You have no idea what I said.

Ok, listen up. WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW INDIES SO EACH OF US CAN ACTUALLY MAKE REAL CASH.

Got it?

Let's try this again.

When a fellow indie author has a free promo day, there are enough of us indie authors in all of our communities that we can raise up each indie author on their particular free promo day. That means you simply DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY. Is that REALLY so hard?

I don't care if you only have a PC, a Mac, don't have a Kindle, do have a Kindle, only have a Nook, what ever. It doesn't matter. Period. If you have a PC, download the app for Kindle for PC. If you have a Mac, same thing. If you only have a Nook...I'm sure you have a computer as well. SURELY you see where I'm going without me spelling out EVERY detail.

Ok, now that we're on the same page there...here's the next step.

When a fellow indie has their book up for a free promo day....DOWNLOAD a FREE copy! 

"But I already have it" you say.

Awesome for your support! Now....DELETE IT AND DOWNLOAD ANOTHER.

Or, if Kindle won't let you do that, download it to a different device, like a different computer. In other words, there is SOME way that you can download another FREE copy. We're just too damn lazy to help others, it seems.

"But I don't download what I won't read. Period."

Well, that tells me and the rest of the community that you DON'T truly support your fellow indies. I personally do download TONS of books I probably won't ever read. Seriously, what does it COST ME? Nothing, other than a few seconds to make a click.

Then, there are other authors who simply hate the guts of some fellow indies. Yeah, that's really supporting your community too. GROW UP.

Look, here's the bottom line. The reason why Pixel and ENT are SO effective is simply their reach. They have the ability to reach THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people, individual readers. It takes THOUSANDS of downloads for each book to pop the number one spot in your particular genre.

Thing is, if your book does NOT hit the number one spot, it won't stay afloat as long after the free day. If it doesn't at least crack the Top 10, your free day was wasted.

Here's another part of this reality check. There are enough authors in our communities as a whole to get each individual fellow indie author SEVERAL thousand downloads on EACH of our free days.

So, to recap, drop your hatred, grow up, click a book even if you don't like it (just hit delete), and help that fellow author to hit that coveted number one spot. It hasn't cost you a single penny to show support. Yet, by that author hitting number one, THEY will now have the opportunity to have TONS of new, fresh eyes seeing their work. IF their work has merit, it may hold the Top 10 for a while, while gaining actual paid sales that YOU are paying nothing for. You simply clicked your mouse. If their book does not have merit, it will soon vanish into the ether, therefore not hurting you or your book anyway.

So again...WHY is it SO hard to show TRUE support to your fellow indie author???

C'mon. AS A COMMUNITY WE ARE STRONG. Divided, we fall.
 
Alright, I've run these free promotional days on KDP Select several times now. I've also had books free through another method that would likely be considered old school now.

I've had exactly one very successful free promotional day.

The bottom line about the KDP Select free days are...the free day in and of itself is absolutely nothing more than a tool. There is no magic in it. Your book absolutely will not jump in the rankings simply because you schedule a free day.

In fact, just as you would normally promote your rear end off when your book is selling for a monetary figure, you'll also need to promote your rear off for the free promotional day or days that you schedule.

"But I thought you said you've had one very successful promo day," you ask.

Yes, you're right. And here's the difference.

Ok, for the promo day I just had, I gave away approximately 150 copies....TOTAL in the US of my book. My ranking peaked at 25 from what I saw. And, during this day, my book was tweeted by myself and a few others through out the day. It was also facebooked by myself and a few others through out the day. Plus it was promoted by Flurries for Words (or something like that), Author Marketing Club or one of their lists, and a couple of other venues. In other words, my book was promoted by a few different venues and several individuals. And that resulted in about 150 copies in the US. Yes, I had some in the UK as well, and 1 copy in each of a couple of other countries. Seriously, one copy. But, I'm focusing on the US numbers because that's normally our bread and butter.

Now, the very successful day I had, I literally had a couple of thousand downloads of my book before I even remembered that it was free that day.

What was the difference?

It kinda makes me sick to say this, because it makes me sick to admit that we authors are dependent on one or two different sites/venues to "make us" successful. But, here's the rotten truth. That one day, my book was mentioned by Ereader News Today.

This round, my book was mentioned by three or four other sites along with friends and myself pimping it all day. for a grand total of 150 copies in the US. When Ereader News Today (ENT) promoted it, it downloaded around 3,000 copies total in one day without me saying a word.

In fact, from what I've gathered, if ENT or Pixel of Ink promote your book, you can actually expect around 3,000 copies to be downloaded in one day.

When this many copies are downloaded in one day, this shoots your book up to the top or near the top of the chart in your genre. My book, All Jacked Up, stayed at the number one spot for a day or two when ENT mentioned my book.

P.S. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other venues that you can use for book promotion on your free days. In fact, I think they are doing a great thing...AND I wish they were much bigger than they are and have much more impact than they do. I hate it that the only sites with a real impact are Pixel and ENT. In fact, if you'll look at this very website of mine, I have a section on this for free books. I'm trying to build this site up to have the kind of reach that Pixel and ENT have, and hopefully help more authors get their names out there. So please, check out my page on this site as well.

Back to my original point. Here's the benefit of KDP Select. Once your free day is over, or days, your book automatically goes back to being charged for. If you go "old school" as in through Smashwords and that process to get Amazon to go free, you will have a harder time getting your book back to paid. With Select it automatically goes back to paid.

Other than that, KDP Select does absolutely nothing in and of itself for your book as far as promotional value.
 
Does life really begin?

Well...that's a question for another day. For now though, do we all start somewhere? Or do some of us not start at all? Well, I guess even that opens up a whole new can of worms.

For now...let me introduce you to today's guest poster. Welcome, Patricia Neuman:

How We Got Our Start

Once upon a time, two (unbeknownst to each other) wannabe authors lived in Minnesota. Yep, their names were Roz and Patty. They met through mutual friend Lee, whom they both adored, in part because she was a real character, in the best sense of the word.

Not long after they met, Patty moved to South Dakota. Roz and Patty developed their friendship via letters (remember those things?) and occasional, all-too-expensive, long-distance phone calls (anyone in this day of unlimited long-distance remember THOSE?).

When Roz’s letters arrived, Patty read them aloud to her husband, and the couple chuckled frequently and even guffawed from time to time. When Roz read Patty’s letters to her husband, he said, “Point, point” – something Patty rarely got to. Not quickly, anyway.

Patty told Roz she should be a writer because of her keen Brit wit (Roz is a born-and-bred Londoner who now lives in Texas; but back to Minnesota and South Dakota for now). Roz told Patty that she had actually written short stories when she was a teen. Then Patty confessed that she, too, had written (unpublished) short stories and essays for Redbook Magazine and the like. So they each subscribed to Writer’s Digest and The Writer Magazine and began their writing careers in earnest. Separately.

They wrote and shared with each other their yet-to-be (soon-to-be?) published novels (watch for Trousseau and Tangled Webs – in the distant future, if not sooner). Then both came to a creeping if not screeching halt.

So one day Roz called Patty and said, “How about we start a writing exercise? I’ll go first and send you a segment, you can add a segment and send it back, and so forth. At least we’ll be writing.”

And write the friends did. After about 100 pages, one of the friends turned it into a murder mystery. After a few more pages, one of them said, “This is really good!” And thus the friends eventually finished their first co-authored novel. It wasn’t the first of the Val & Kit Mystery Series, but rather a stand-alone murder mystery. Aptly titled Segments, it also remains yet-to-be (soon-to-be?) published. The friends won’t define soon J but watch for it in the near or distant future, too.

For now, they’re busy trying to get the 2nd in the Val & Kit Mystery Series to their readers, who are clamoring for it. Seriously. And they’re busy pinching themselves.

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.

 

I asked this special author..."Where do you start?" Then she proceeds to pull her hair out. Just kidding. It's a question some authors are likely asked a lot. So I had to return the favor ;) Anyway, Ms Byrd gave us a fantastic response, so I wanted to share:

Katrina Renee Byrd

Where Do I Start?

I hear this question a lot. It is one question that packs a real punch. When people ask this one questions they are usually asking three things.

1. How do I get my ideas on paper?

2. Where do I find time to write?

3.. Where does the piece of work need to begin?

Where do I start? How do I get my ideas on paper?

I can think of some great ideas but when I try to write them, there’s nothing there.”

Honey, there’s something there,” I say as I fluff my boa. “You just have to know how to access it.”

One of the most common mistakes about getting ideas on paper is that we try to edit before we write. We hear the ideas in our head but we work diligently to erase them and we don’t even know it. Here let me show you. Take out a sheet of paper or open your word processor. Write the following:

sorry” she said but that wasn’t good enough for the teacher. She still said that she’d call her mother That scared Ellen. She walked slowly from her bus stop thinking… When she reached the front steps her mother stood on the porch. “Get into this house right now,” her mother said.

Look at what you’ve just written. Is it punctuated properly? Is it coherent? Is it something you want to share with your English teacher? Of course not but you have gotten the idea on paper. Take a minute to do some editing. Then take a look at my edits.

“Sorry,” Ella said. She stared at Mrs. Johnson, her second grade teacher behind thick glasses. Ella said it again, but sorry wasn’t good enough for Old Lady Johnson.

“I’m calling your mother this afternoon, young lady,” Mrs. Johnson said shaking a finger at Ella then turning her back to Ella and addressing the rest of the class.

Where do I start? Where do I find time to write?

I am too busy. I just don’t have time to write?

Busy doing what, honey?” I ask.

That’s the real question. We are all busy but what are we busy doing? If you want to be a writer you must write. I was shocked when I realized this concept. So walking around town advertising myself as a writer is not the same as being a writer? Sadly it is not. Neither is cleaning your house, nursing your boa flouncing career or being at every writers’ group meeting. So when I really embraced this concept I found some fun ways to write small pieces AND get feedback!! Dare I say it out loud? FACEBOOK, blogging, twitter… All of these entities give you the opportunity to come up with creative, short pieces in a short period of time. Another way to jump start your writing life is to carve out small periods of time for your writing. At this point it’s not the number of minutes or hours that you write but rather that you honor the time that you’ve set for yourself. If you say you are going to write from 3:00 pm – 3:02 pm then have your butt in chair, keyboard in hand and sit there for two, uninterrupted minutes of writing.

Where do I start? Where does the piece of work begin?

This question is a bit difficult to answer because so many of us write differently. Some use an outline, some fly by the seat of their pants and some do both. For me, I have come to realize that where I begin writing the story is not necessarily where the reader begins reading it. So when I sit down to begin writing a story I may begin writing “…and they lived happily ever after.” Where as once the story reaches the hands of the reader the first line he sees may be “Once upon a time.”

Some writers write linear and some don’t. Even with an outline I may choose to write chapter five first then go back and write chapter two. I really think the import thing is to know yourself and feel brave enough and free enough to begin writing wherever you’d like.

 So to answer the question where do I start? I say, “WRITE!”

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.

 
We all have them.

What are yours?

What do you dream about? What gets your heart racing in the morning? What lights your fire through out the day?

What are your demons? What do you fight and struggle with, within yourself? Things that most people don't know about that you struggle with daily. What makes life challenging for you?

Good writers channel both their dreams and their demons into their writing. Writing is an art, and artists channel their inner selves into their work. Those things we struggle with, we put into words and flesh them out into fictional or non-fictional characters to bring them to life on the page...or screen. We attribute our own characteristics and characteristics of people we know and people we meet into these two-dimensional beings to make them seem three-dimensional. We have to live in the character's world for a while, then add heart and soul to each two-dimensional figure head.

We do this so that...

As a reader, you become completely engulfed in this world that we've presented to you. The goal is that we've reached into you mind, into your heart, into your soul, and touched, fondled, even squeezed and yanked your personal dreams and demons and ripped them out of you and placed them on the page or screen in front of you. We've put them right in front of your eyes and make you stand up and take notice of them. We've brought them to life for you to the extent that you can't deny their existence...if even for a few hours.

And we do this....to please you, the reader.

Yes, we bring your demons and dreams to the forefront of your mind and our demons and dreams to them...to entertain you. To please you. To make you happy.

To give you a break from your own life. And to pull you into our life.

Just briefly.

Then we'll let the chain drop that we've yanked you out with and let you fall back to your comfort zone, putting all of your dreams and demons back in their safe place.

But just until you read our next book ;)
 
More specifically...what's a book worth to YOU, the reader?

Some writers believe that each of their works should be priced as high as the sky...because it's their art and their art is special. Their time is special. They deserve to be paid for their time. With each book sale.

I won't say that their art isn't special, because it is. I believe that each author has an audience. The trick is FINDING that audience. Plus, the audience for Sally just may be bigger than the audience for Tom. Who knows?

Some writers believe that their work should be priced in the gutter...so they can attract that many more readers. They believe that selling 6,000 is better than selling 1,000, even if selling  6,000 copies makes them the exact same profit as selling 1,000 copies would. But, with 6,000, they have 6,000 more readers and potential fans than the author that only sells 1,000.

I won't say this is faulty either, simply because we all know that when businesses have a loss leader or even a freebie, it tends to WORK. It does it's job and brings in more customers. That's the whole idea behind the promotion. If it didn't work businesses wouldn't continue doing that.

With the high priced books, obviously not everyone will spend money on their art. Especially if you're not familiar with that particular author. The majority of people that I've talked to and listened to have the same thought process with this. If you don't know an author, you're afraid to spend more than a few bucks on them. You're only willing to spend a few bucks or MORE if you know AND TRUST that author. Perfectly reasonable sounding to me. We work hard for our money...unless Uncle Sam gave it to you for free.

With gutter priced books, some people believe that undervalues the author's work and therefore undervalues the author. They believe that .99 and free books devalue books in general, lowering the actual value of every other author out there. But, I figure, if that were true, we wouldn't have James Patterson, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, etc on the top of the best-seller lists. Those books sure aren't .99 or free.

See, the idea with this idea is, if you give your book away for free, your book makes another author's book worth less. So, if they feel they should get 4.99 per copy, suddenly, because yours is free, they can now only get 2.99 per copy.

I kinda think that those that are willing to pay for quality, will pay regardless of how many free books are out there. I kinda also think that those that aren't willing to pay for anything, wouldn't pay regardless, even if there were no free or cheap books out there.

But, what do I know?

Either way, if the work sells, you WILL make a lot of money. Either way, there are legitimate reasons that will scare away some readers.

So, as a reader, how much is a book worth to YOU?
 
It hit me today. Yes, I'm becoming more "independent" with my work, in that it's getting out there more. My writing is in more hands. More eyes are reading what I've written.

Yet, that independence leads to dependence. Sort of.

I realized that around 10,000 people have a copy of one book. I then realized that those people could be riding a bus or a train, sitting in a doctor's office, sitting in a corner shutting the world out, killing time while waiting for a loved one to come home, or sitting on a beach somewhere...while reading my book. People all over the country have a copy of my book on their ereader.

This actually leads to more dependence, while giving the writer more independence. It's in the business side of things. If a person is simply a writer and not a business person, that person can simply write whatever they want and not care. They won't care if anyone ever reads their work. They won't care if their work is shared. They won't care if their work is bought. They won't care if their work is popular. They simply write to write. Period.

However, for the write that's also a business person, the independence and dependence are actually tied together. In order for us to be independent, we must also realize that we are dependent. We are dependent on the reader to actually enjoy what we write. After all, if the reader doesn't enjoy it, the work will never go far.

So yes, I have around 10,000 people with a copy of one of my books. Now I wonder how many of those are enjoying with they are reading. I'm sure at least some are, because I've had great reviews. I'm also sure some are, because they've bought the first sequel. I'm also sure some are, because they've bought the short story prequel.

In the end, yes, I'm dependent on these readers to be happy. To spread word-of-mouth. To help me build my brand and my series, to please their reading tastes.

So, in this case, being dependent to be independent feels so good.