- Indie Ebooks – are here to stay. These type books are easily processed and published online through Smashwords. The main thing is to have your work professional edited before publishing. You must redo your format in order to get through the meatgrinder process according to the Style book on Smashwords. They take care of marketing your book and send it out to the various marketing online streams including Amazon, online catalogs, Barnes & Noble, Nook, etc. All for free. You need to invest a small amount of money to hire a graphic designer to create an eye-catching book cover. For online publications, book covers are everything and what sells your book basically, along with an intriguing title. Ebooks that can show a significant fan base with strong reviews and sell above 5000 will catch the attention of main stream publishers, who may in turn come knocking at your door and offer you a contract for traditional style publishing. This can then increase marketability and demographics for future books.
- Self-Publishing – The stigma of vanity publishing is no longer applicable to the industry. Online ebooks are proving marketability both with traditional and self-published authors. They are less expensive to produce, which keeps the prices lower for the consumer. For example, Hugh Howey, author of the “Wool” series, became a NY Times Bestselling author almost overnight. He made over $600,000 within the first few months of publishing the novelette “Wool” on Amazon for only $2.99 each. The readers filled in reviews and sent fan mail asking for more of the story, which is a dystopian fiction Sci-fi saga now. Random House purchased the rights from Howey, for most likely a few million (??), and published “Wool” in hardcopy and paperback form as the “Wool Omnibus” series. Important to note, Howey was a traditionally published author before he wrote “Wool,” but could not get a contract for “Wool” until he self-published it in an ebook format and the book proved its saleability. This is a good lesson for all writers who desire to be published. A publisher must see your work can sell.
- Anybody can self publish today online. Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/ is a great place to start and test drive your work. You can publish with them for FREE and get free distribution to all online ebook venues. If you choose to self-publish in a paperback or hard copy format, you must be wise in choosing which company to use. It pays to shop around and get references and feedback from authors who have published with the company you are considering. You can pay a lot of your own money to get your book published, but that doesn't mean it will sell. Many self-publishing companies do offer marketing packages for a considerable fee. If you choose to self-publish, I suggest http://www.createspace.com, which is relatively inexpensive compared to many other. For Christian authors, http://www.westbowpress.com is the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson, one of the leading Christian publishers. You must have a good marketing plan in place and the willingness to put yourself out there in order to sell your book. If you can prove your book is salable, and you are willing to put the effort into marketing, a traditional publisher will take note. In fact, this is exactly the kind of author most traditional publishers are looking for and desire.
- Self-publishing also works well for those who only desire to publish one or two books in their lifetime. If you only want to publish a simple children's book and can find nice photo's or produce your own illustrations, I would suggest Blurb http://www.blurb.com, which has a very user-friendly system and will promote your book on their website. Lulu http://www.lulu.com is another place many children's book authors are self-publishing today.
- Tenacity is the key to your success either way you choose to get published. This is not to discourage those of you who are still endeavoring for that traditional publishing contract. There are plenty small publishers who are looking to publish you as long as you are willing to do your part in marketing your book. You will receive the notoriety of obtaining a traditional contract for your work, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. However, don't expect to strike it rich like Hugh Howey by any stretch of the imagination. One of the main reasons many authors are self publishing is to help build the necessary platform needed in order to obtain a contract with a traditional publisher. Some assume that self publishing could hurt you if your book doesn't sell. To such naysayers I say, if you never try in the first place, how will you ever know? You just might hit gold like Hugh Howey did unintentionally. If nothing else, at least you are getting your work out to the general public, which is the goal in the first place. When creating an ebook and putting it on the Internet super highway, you never know where it could end up and who might read it.
- Faith based films are up and coming and considered to be the next wave of success in the industry. Filmmakers are looking for inspirational stories both fiction and nonfiction. These stories include all genres and religious affiliations: Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, etc. Write your story and put it in an ebook format. You never know who could read it, be moved by it, and want to make it into a movie. How cool would that be?
2. Remember the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
5. Do not be rude.
* For Christian Writers
First things first, before even thinking about writing a book, here are a few questions you should ponder and try your best to answer.
Why are you writing a book?
Do you write fiction or nonfiction or both?
Are you a natural born storyteller, just making things up as you go along? Or do you prefer to tell the true stories as they really did happen?
Did something happen in your life that you need to tell about?
Who is your Audience?
Adults, teens, children – don't say everyone. You have to focus in on a genre and a specific audience. This will let the publisher know who your target audience is in order to focus marketing efforts.
Usually your genre choice will determine this for you, but not necessarily. Examples:
Why are you the one to tell this story?
Should you self-publish or submit to a traditional publishing houses?
This is a very loaded question and one many authors struggle with today. Research is key and understanding how the publishing industry works will benefit your efforts. If you are seriously considering a traditional publishing house, then I strongly suggest you attend as many writing conferences as possible, talk and network with other published authors on social networks and in various writers groups. Networking is very important to help further your marketing efforts. And yes, you must still learn how to market your own books even if you are traditionally published. Although, most traditional publishers do offer some assistance in this area as it is within their own best interest as well.
If anyone needs a wedding coordinator, I'm your girl. I've been working on my son's wedding since the first of the year. This is why I've been MIA (missing in action). I appreciate your understanding. My middle son, Matt had a whirlwind romance with his true love, Brittany. They met last October and Matt popped the question by January. Of course, they started talking about it before Christmas. I found out via text message.
"Mom, I'm getting married and want to do it in the backyard. Can you help?"
This was in January in the dead middle of winter.
"My response: Matt, it's freezing outside. Not gonna happen. Where are you now?"
Of course, I called him and talked him into waiting a little while longer. They settled on February 10th, but then circumstances prevailed and we had to push it even further to March 2nd. All's well that ends well. They are happily married now and living in their own apartment. Amazing how responsible they have become seemingly overnight. They are only 20 and 21 - babies. But when I think back to when I was single, I could hardly wait to get married and start a family. Now I think how crazy that was, but love is truly blind. I guess that's a good thing. Otherwise, nobody would ever get married and have children. It takes blindsided dumb luck to carry us through life sometimes. Please pray for my son and his new wife that they will have a long and happy marriage.
Now I'm back and ready to go again on my writing endeavors. My, how life throws us for a loop at times. We had planned to attend another wedding for my sister's daughter and my niece in Las Vegas. It had been planned for over a year, however. So it was absolutely beautiful at the top of the Stratosphere hotel, which overlooks the city. The wedding chapel was very formal and the ceremony quick, complete with beautiful gowns and cowboy boots. Just had to include a little bit of Texas since that's where the Bride is from originally. I'd never been to Vegas before and probably never would have gone there otherwise, but I must say, we had a fabulous time. The hotels are incredibly opulent to say the least. We didn't have to gamble to have a good time. Hoover Dam offered some lovely vistas as well. It was well worth the trip, but next time, I may go by way of the Grand Canyon. There is one more wedding to go in my family for this year, but that's not until October now. Unless stupid cupid decides to strike again at one the cousins, I don't expect to be under the radar of my writing.
Hidden Press has a new anthology just released in time for Christmas. "Grandmother, Mother and Me" is filled with wonderful stories, poems, and great recipes. These stories will make you laugh, cry and remember fond memories of yesteryear. My own story is included of course. You can order a copy by going to www.hiddenbrookpress.com, click on the Hidden Brook logo to access the website, then scroll down to find the book cover.
This is one of the most confusing subjects that most writers face today. It is also embarrassing when asked "So what's your platform?" and one does not know how to answer. I have read a lot about this subject, but to be honest, I still find myself wondering what my own personal platform really is even now after several years of writing, blogging, and helping lead other writers along the path of publication. But rather than concentrating on the ethereal wonderment of what platform means, I think a better approach is to take a look at the more practical and tangible ways to build platform.
When I think of platform, I think about standing on a stage. So I look around and see I am actually standing on carpet at this very moment. But carpet does not a platform make or mean. Perhaps a better way of stating this is "What is your stage?" That's a lot easier to visualize and understand. In other words, where are you most likely to be seen? And what kind of activities are you involved with that make up who you are as a writer?
First of all, my stage is made up of several venues included within the social media arena: Facebook, Twitter, maintaining two blogs on two different websites, guest blogging on other websites, maintaining an online column on Examiner.com, and networking with other writers online through writers association websites and any place else I may find. All this helps me find my place in this world by broadening my Internet presence on the world wide web.
Another part of my stage involves leading a local writers group, conducting monthly meetings, and organizing local writers retreats and workshops. I also contribute articles and interviews as a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine.
Still more aspects of my stage involves marketing my current projects and promoting my non-fiction book "Date, Pray, Wait" by setting up small study groups with local youth organizations and churches.
And I'm sure I could come up with a longer list, if I really think about it. Your platform is developed as you continue in your passion for writing. So what are you doing right now that can help you build your stage? Just because you have a facebook page or Twitter account doesn't mean they have anything to do with your writing stage either. But you can start to infuse aspects of your writing into these venues to begin developing a stronger writing platform with your Internet presence. I would suggest you start building your platform by working on your online presence first because the world wide web offers such high visibility and provides the strongest link to social networking.
Over the past three years, I've had the privilege of making acquaintances with several media personalities throughout Memphis. These contacts are obviously important to a writer especially when trying to promote a book. At first, I have to admit it was a bit taxing and intimidating for me to initiate contact with them, but it's not like they aren't used to it. I mean, isn't this what most people do anyway? So I'm not the only one trying to vie for their attention. The main thing is not to upset these important contacts by bombarding with too much information. You want to approach them in a respectful and acceptable manner; treat them as you would want someone to treat you if you were in their position.
After a while of communicating with them via email and making my various requests known, they slowly started to recognize my name and face. I was sort of like branding myself in that respect. This is why it is important to use the same name, write in the style and use the same picture in your email. Eventually, they will begin to reciprocate in like manner. I think the key is to stick with it and never give up, but be consistent in contacting them. Your consistent presence - not nagging - will earn you a certain amount of respect and they just might actually start reading what you send to them. And, they just might start trusting that what you are sending them is legitimate and worth their time. This is how professional relationships are cultivated. You don't have to necessarily shower them gifts either, though small inexpensive thoughtful gifts are usually much appreciated and remembered. The key is to be patient and respectful. Eventually, these two genuine characteristics will win you the attention you are seeking.
For more on how to win over the media, consider a new book by my friend Torry Martin.
"Shameless Self Promotion and Networking for Christian Creatives"
The illuminating power of the cross is a wonder to me in how God uses His word to penetrate and influence us as Christian writers. The cross represents the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ for the His Bride, the Church; the not the church buildings or established religious orders, but the people of God who know and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
What is more worthy to be called to write about? Isn't this our great commission, to share the gospel throughout the world? What better way to do this than to write about it on the world wide web? Blogging to evangelize is one sure way to reach people, but yet it must be done fairly and well; not in a forceful manner that is dogmatic and intrusive on others. Christ was and still is the gentle lamb of God with a still, small voice that beacons with love and peace. Sewing the seeds of faith is what we as believers are best at doing and how God usually chooses to use us best in the lives of others. Allowing Him to write through you can be the hard part. And this is the part I refer to as the writer's anointing.
Instead of us always stepping in the way and asking God to please bless what we are doing for Him, we should be stepping aside and joining in with what He is already doing. This requires us to be quiet, still, patient, and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet, with all the hustle and bustle of this world to meet deadlines for various publications or to get that final edited version done and resubmitted, we find ourselves stressed, rushed, and rarely in a state of mind to receive much of anything from God. All these things only serve to steal away our creativity. In order to flow within God's plan, we will have to learn to say no a lot more than we say yes, and to prioritize our to do list. We will have to learn that we only need to do what God requires of us at the time and not what man desires of us.
This is the only way a Christian writer can stay in tune with what God is wanting to accomplish, and how He wants to work through you. For about this subject, you can download a FREE ebook titled "The Writer's Anointing," which is also available on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com. Click on the link below: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/123839
If you happen to be in the Memphis area the second weekend of October, I'd like to invite you to attend a Christian Writers Retreat sponsored by the Bartlett Christian Writers.
We have some outstanding speakers and workshop presenters scheduled to offer intriguing and helpful topics on the writing such as:
The retreat is scheduled for October 13th on a Saturday from 9:00-4:00 for only one day. The cost is $20.00. Come enjoy fireside worship and praise with budding local Christian artist, Gary Keith in the outdoor amphitheater. Enjoy devotional time alone with God in the wonderful crisp autumn air and then refresh your spirit with the knowledge we offer you to better equip you to write for the glory of God. You must pre-register to qualify for door prizes. Simply contact Londa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 901-218-2412.
Decatur Christian Trinity Church
2449 Altruria Rd.
Memphis, TN 38134
(Near Elmore Park at the corner of Summer and Altruria)
This will be a wonderful time of fellowship, encouragement, networking, and learning. We hope you can make it.
I had a wonderful time interviewing yesterday with Darien Martin for his blog talk radio show about my book "Date, Pray, Wait." You can listen in by clicking on the link below.
"It's All About You" with The Fabulous One's - Darius and Darien
I want to thank Darius for being such a gracious host and for asking such pertinent questions. Please leave comments with your feedback. I'd love to hear from you. Thanks.