Category: Promotion -  L.A. Tripp
 
For a VERY interesting perspective on the current dynamics of going indie, open those ears wide for a quick listen to our guest today, Dino:

MY VIEWS ON SELF PUBLISHING
By Dino Simonetti

Author Consider this-when a writer asks you to buy a book, they’re asking you to
trust them. They’re asking you to part with hard-earned dollar(Well unless its an E-book). When a reader buys the book, we’re hopeful they’ll love it enough to tell their friends etc to buy/read it as well.

My topic today will be about independent publishing and my experiences with it. I will also discuss my choice of publish-on-demand services. Here’s the typical writing scenario we all dream about: We sit down to write our monumental best-selling novel. We dream of the day a big publisher will pick up the manuscript and say "Eureka-I think you've got it!"

Has that happened to you yet? Yes at least twice----right?

Well the dream, once you get to know what color the lining truly is, can be fraught with all sorts of trip-ups-unless you have a high-paid savvy lawyer reading your agreement. As always, it’s about money. 

Well it seems there are as many Indi-publishers as there are writers. It has become a lucrative business for some indie-publishers that offer book set up, artwork, reviews and ghost writing etc. The average poor Joe, such as myself, cannot and will not fall for it. Why? Let me share a little horror from days gone by.

I was in the music industry for over twelve years and spent tons of money on fancy equipment and web sites with streaming music--and tons of publishing. I also got sucked into the promoter game where they supposedly promote you nationally for five-hundred dollars a month(then dollars). I analyzed what I was doing I realized that I could do exactly what they do, for free and by only adding twenty hours a week to my already hectic work/family life. Truly-promotion is a full time job if you’re trying to make market share. The energy I expended did pay off to some degree; gosh I spent a ton on stamps and fax paper. I ended up producing thirteen disks of music of various types. The musical got rave reviews from the critics. Did you know if you buy advertising space and schmooze enough you can get a 5-star review? Well, I did make a pretty good splash and was noticed by lots of larger labels that I was hoping to license with.

They have marginal budgets too(inside tip) as well and the only ones who make any money are the owners unless you’re an absolute wonder. I rubbed elbows with a few luminaries and one was kind enough to tell me “the world isn’t ready for you yet-give it about 10 years. I guess that’s why I’m a visionary. I also managed to flooded the college radio market and made many play lists and a bit of notoriety; I was invited in for several interviews. .

Three years after leaving the game, I still received a play list from a Canadian radio station that played at least one of my tracks every night. The lesson learned? How incestuous the industry is and how record deals are actually run and all the pitfalls of getting wrapped up with the big guys. How does this equate to the literary world-we try to keep it tight but there is a certain percentage of ‘stuff’ going on.

One day I was sharing with a dear friend back east how I thought it was finally time to release my series of not-so-short stories. I explained to him the style of my writings and how five books will end up being over three-thousand pages when all is said and done. He was happy to share how he had self-published 11 books, short stories about monsters and such. He expounded on how he used Create Space dot com. He further explained that it's free and they do a good job.

I contacted them-they really are a nice bunch and are tied in with Amazon. Since joining them about three-years ago, they’ve grown to a 24/7 operation. They answer all of your questions whether on the phone or e-mail. If you don't understand something-they will explain it so that even me, Roger Rabbit, can understand-no I don't smoke marijuana. I recall having a book cover issue and after a phone call they accepted my cover. Most book publishers that offer cover services want bleed around the edges etc. I got them to understand the black edges where my pictures fade out are designed to flow off the edge of the page. I do my own covers and even Createspace say they're unique and wonderfully wild-that's a subtle marketing hint.

Createspace offer all sorts of templates and services and if you're patient you CAN do the entire thing yourself without enlisting their pro’s which requires a fee. It took me no time to figure out how to make it all work. I called and they gave me the math formula to figure binding width etc-it's really easy once you have the page thickness.

Some of the nice things they evolved was the 3-D version of the book, you can get a complete view of what it will look like when it hits the stands. Also, you can now digitally proof your book with their handy tool-you get a screen shot of your manuscript and it will show if you're outside the margins etc(coloring outside the box). 

It used to be, you'd send the manuscript via PDF and all the set up, they'd okay it, you'd order a copy and sometimes it would be right, sometimes not. I tend to be anal so it was never right and it would cost me 2-3 books-now its none.

They will issue you a unique ISBN number, both 10 and 13 digit if you like.

You can do your own sales-copy on the site because you access to do your own web space. Mine is createspace.com/3599541. I created the entire thing in an hour or so.

Now here’s the rub. If you use the web space, you can make decent royalties. Example, take a 458-page book, and price it at 12.95, you can make almost four-dollars. If you use Amazon, they take forty-percent and still make over two-dollars. The pros and cons are this: 
A) You can drive people to your web-space, make lots of money but it will tak a while before people will know who you are. B) you can use the Amazon channel not make as much, but you have the opportunity to be noticed in the rankings. It’s best to use both.

You can also use the expanded distribution system feature, such as libraries, book re-sellers. The only caveat is you must price the book out of sight to make a few cents-some where in the neighbor hood of sixteen-dollars. I myself plan to use my own marketing and agency to get wholesalers to buy my books at much less than the aforementioned process. I can sell them for less and we both make money. Yes it’s a bit labor intensive to buy your own books and have them dropped shipped but worth every buck if you have a book that is moving already.

They now offer Kindle set-up for $69.00 and they will take your PDF and convert it-or you can go to the Amazon site and do it your self-(Yup, I'm a terminal DIY'er). Same with B&N Nook, they have a site to do it yourself.

There are challenges to all of this but if you really want to make money, pull out a few hairs and figure it out.

A sidebar here, I want to use a portion of the royalty paid per book to raise ten-thousand dollars by years end to donate to the Autism Foundation to assist in researching this affliction; it afflicts my youngest boy Connor If you'd like to know more, just write me at by_noble_hands@yahoo.com.

I have other links I’d like you to visit as well.
http://www.facebook.com/Witches.N.Demons.of.Salem
http://dinosimonettiwriter.blogspot.com/
http://www.authorsden.com/dinopsimonetti
and of course
createspace.com/3599541

Shape-shifters and Succubae
An unusual way to deliver a Thriller? What makes this thriller different than all the rest? First of all, it’s a book that can be used as a screenplay to a movie that would be simply awesome. There’s more-take a blend of toe curling murders, horrifying gore and people disappearing (and reappearing not quite the same). Add steamy erotica only a well-mannered succubae would partake of-nice combo; that’s not all take our central character Jade, having nightmares and hearing voices-possibly from the other side is that you Hecate? Graveyard rituals performed by young witches that ought not be performing and-well-what happens when an esbat is disrupted? Combine a bloodthirsty demons with that sex starved succubae and.... had enough?

Now take a disturbed young female with only one thing on her mind-Billy’s heart and soul. So when you’re at the beach reading this summer, stick your toes in the sand and settle back with a copy-your toes will curl under the sand. Nothing like a dark and macabre book-you'll love it! Shape-shifters and Succubae is now available on Amazon or Createspace.com/3599541 grab a copy for yourself and a friend or loved one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dino Simonetti hails from Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small town east of Boston. Simonetti lived his first 28 years in this historical town and can recall stories told by Edward Roe Snow, a neighbor at the time. He also took a liking to Poe's works as well. He credits much of his influence to King, Koontz and Barkers works. He stated some of the light, breezy prose is influenced by Janet Evanovich as well.

Mr. Simonetti has a sense of humor that lends to his charismatic demeanor and you will find him quite easy to talk to. One thing I did notice is he listens intently and takes a great interest in you and he will ask you questions about you and not speak of himself unless asked. He is always quick with a joke and quite witty.

Mr. Simonetti stated he was a pharmacist for over twenty-years and has just recently embarked on a career in massage therapy. He is a father to four children, all fully grown and living in Salem MA. He himself resides in Utah for the time being.

Simonetti can spin a yarn that will definitely scare you. The pieces described to me were certainly teasers to read his book-I was delighted to read it. He states that to make a scene really scary or gory, he has to imagine what would gross him out or scare the life out of him-he claims to have a high threshold to horror and gore. The style of writing he credits to an idea his son gave him. The manuscript can be likened to a screenplay and is written from the point of view of a twenty-something recounting a movie in exquisite detail. The book is peppered with the cleanest and most inoffensive erotica I've ever read and it is placed strategically within the story line. The vernacular of the characters is precisely what you would expect from young adults who have spent a great deal of time on the streets; I found it quite entertaining at times.

The story started out on a single premise and became more and more twisted and convoluted, until he put together a tale that will run into several parts and top the 3000 page mark. This first installment, Shape-shifters and Succubae, lays the groundwork for the mystery, the horror, and the suspense all rabid horror enthusiasts will enjoy following, in the end, hopefully leaving them breathless.

Mr. Simonetti currently lives in Midvale Utah; contact him there by e-mail for readings, signings and tours.

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'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.
 

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 ;)
 
Yes, you heard me. More free books. But I'm not giving them away, personally, just yet.

Actually, I've created a page on this site so that authors can submit their free promo books to be listed and readers can look on here to find something they may like.

You've heard of Pixel of Ink or Ereader News Today? Yep, same principle, but better. Eventually.

Hope you enjoy this new feature. Please, spread the word. Bring the customers/hits to this site and we'll be able to build it up much faster with free books!