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Posts Tagged ‘authors’

I used to think I could edit and proofread my books all by myself. Really, I did. After all, I catch errors in other writers’ books all the time. But here’s the thing…you KNOW what you’re trying to say, so if you say it wrong or misspell a word, your mind sees what you MEANT to say or type. Our minds play tricks like that. You should always be the first editor/proofreader of your book and you should be the last. But in the middle, you should have other people looking at your manuscript.

So, what if you can’t afford an editor? Barter for services if you can! This advice actually comes from my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, a very prolific author. And that’s what I do. I have some very good beta readers who are also great editors and proofreaders. One actually does that in her full time job. I do the same for them, and it’s worked very well for us. And it’s funny how one might catch totally different things than another. In the last book I had them read, there was only one thing that two of them suggested changing, and both of them had a different way of changing it. That’s when you, as an author, have to make the decision. Should you do it your original way, or pick one of the ways the editors suggested? Remember, I said you should be the first and last editor. Ultimately, it’s your book, and you’re going to be responsible for the content.

There are at LEAST four people who look at my books. Two of them are authors (they write in totally different genres), one is an avid reader, and the last one is my mom. Yes, my mom. I have several different people take a look. Now, I know people say not to use relatives or friends because they won’t tell you the truth. Well, my mom will definitely tell me the truth. And the funny thing is, she’s almost 79 years old, and yet she caught an error a professional editor didn’t catch. That’s the beauty of having multiple people look at your books.

I can honestly say that, lately, I’m finding as many or more errors in traditionally published books than in indie published books. The book I’m currently reading is published by a small publisher, so I don’t know what kind of editors they have, but I’m finding multiple errors in the book.

I had a reader call me the other day (we have a professional relationship in my full time job, and she starting reading my books) and I was so happy when she told me she was impressed because she had found no errors in Soul of a Vampire. She told me she had just read a traditionally published, popular book and found several. She was full of praise for how well my book was edited. That made me all kinds of happy. 🙂

So, tell me, do errors pull you out of the story? Does it depend on how many errors there are? I would love to hear from both fellow authors AND readers who don’t write and see if there’s a difference of opinion.

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There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s a matter of personal choice. I used to get frustrated when my author friends didn’t read my books. But now I get it. There have been times when I told my author friends that I just started their book or was about to start it. And that has often been a mistake. Here’s the thing…all books don’t appeal to all people. That’s just a fact of life. The book I’m listening to on audio right now got some one-star reviews that just mystified me. The book is full of awesome. But some people (28 out of 851) didn’t think so. And the reasons were sometimes the reasons I loved the book. It’s a matter of taste.

When it comes to friends’ books, you feel obligated to like the book. You WANT to like the book. And when you don’t, and that friend knows you’ve read it, it puts you in a really difficult position. You might not like the writing style, even though a lot of other people do. The story might be boring to you. It might not be in your preferred genre. So is it better to just not read it? That can also hurt a friend’s feelings. What do you do? I’m just not sure.

I’ve read lots of books that others go on and on about. And I wonder why they liked them. Think of it this way…if everyone liked exactly the same books, then there wouldn’t be readers for the other books. Of course, it would be great if everyone liked EVERY book. No, wait, then there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to read everything. As if there is now. So you have to decide whether or not to read friends’ books. And when you think your friend ought to read your book, don’t be offended if they don’t. Maybe they are afraid to read it, in case they don’t like it. Maybe it’s just not their style. I’ve learned to not be hurt by it. I have books that have a few bad reviews that other people email me and say they just loved. My books have everything from 1 to 5 stars. So I know my books are appealing to some people and not to others. Let’s just realize that this is a world with multiple products, and we have enough to appeal to all people. Isn’t that great?

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Can anyone even answer that question? I’m not sure I can. I know a lot of authors give away free books in order to get readers interested in buying their other books. This sounds like a sound strategy, right? But does it work? I’ve tried it a few times, and honestly, I haven’t seen much of a surge in sales. Even giving away for free the first in a series doesn’t always mean a boost in sales of the others in the series. Not for every author, anyway. And I think I know the reason for this. I’ll have to admit, I’m one of the guilty readers. Here’s what happens with me. I find all these free books, enough of them that it’s overwhelming. Some of these books are beginnings of series. If I do ever get around to reading the first in a series, that doesn’t always mean I read the NEXT book. Why? I think it’s mostly because I have, you know, all those other free books on my Kindle. So by the time I’ve read some of those, I’ve forgotten about that other book and that other author. Occasionally, there is an author that just blows me away, and I have to get more and more of his or her books. That’s happened to me with a couple of free books I’ve gotten in the past year, and I’m going to post about that author later, but this is the exception to the rule. Bad me.

So what’s the answer? Everyone always says “write a good book and they’ll come”. Well, the problem is, there are a bunch of books out there. And many of them are good. How does a reader slog through them? How can you get YOUR book in front of people for them to even decide if they like it? So you HAVE to do some marketing. So what’s the best way to do this without being obnoxious (like constant blasts on FB or Twitter)? I don’t know the answer.

So what do you all think? Have “free” promotions boosted your sales? I’m thinking about a giveaway on my blog in the near future involving free ebooks and something cute that would go along with the book. But will it help with sales? Although I love giving away freebies and interacting with other authors and readers, the bottom line is…well…the bottom line. If I want to make a living at this some day, things are going to have to change. But how? Only the Shadow knows. (Some of you may be too young to understand that last statement. LOL)

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***WARNING*** Long post ahead

This post stems from the frustration of tanking book sales. I would like to at least continue to enjoy the little “extras” in life by working full time AND writing, at least for now. Eventually, I would like this to be my job, but things aren’t looking so good right now.

I started thinking I might be able to eventually do this full time when my January & February 2011 sales were so good that I made more money those two months than I did at my full time job. And most of that was from one 99 cent novella…Guardian Vampire. I’ve pondered the mystery of this book’s success for a long time, and I still don’t understand it. It’s actually still my best seller at Amazon UK, although the sales aren’t that great. Think about it though…I made a full time salary on one 99 cent book for two months straight.

I got some emails from readers wishing for a sequel. I know I’ve told this part before. There was no sequel to this novella. So I wrote a the Vampires’ Curse trilogy, thinking that readers wanted series. I’ve never had good sales on those novellas even though they are much better, in my opinion, than Guardian Vampire. After writing GV, I wrote a novel, Haunted Lake. It went months with few sales, but suddenly took off. It never reached the volume of GV, but it wasn’t shabby at all. I currently have 12 works published (one is a compilation of three of the others), and Haunted Lake is still the best seller in the US. Better than anything newer. In fact, the oldest novel is doing better than Vampires’ Curse. I absolutely do not understand.

Here’s the thing. Except for when GV was going crazy, I’ve been used to making a steady $500-$700 a month in sales across a few channels. (We know which channel has the best sales.) This has been less than enough for full time work, but it was really good for part time work. We had been buying essentials and paying bills with our full time money, and had been buying fun stuff and paying for vacation with book money. But in the last couple of months, I haven’t made much over $300. And it looks like July might be even worse. I can’t make a living this way. We’re told the only way to do this is to keep writing so you have a lot of books out there. But the last few things I’ve written are the ones I haven’t sold well. And I’m beginning to suspect that it’s because most of them aren’t 99 cents anymore. My old stuff is all 99 cents, but I refuse to price my later work that low. We, as authors, deserve to get paid for our work. So mine ranges from the 99 cent books, up to the 2.99 ones. I’m afraid, though, that as long as other authors keep pricing at 99 cents, it’s going to be hard to compete. Even if you have a good story, you have to get someone to read it first. Readers will download a bunch of 99 cent books at once. I know this because I’ve done it myself. It’s fun to get lots of stuff for your money. But if I really like an author, I’ll pay more. The key is getting someone to read your work to start with. Some of those 99 cent books don’t even get read, I’ll bet. I have honestly considered dropping all my prices to 99 cents to see what happens. But then I think about the hard work I put into the books and say no.

So we come to the present WIP I’m working on. I think Guardian Vampire did well partly because of the title when people were doing searches. I really feel like my WIP has an even better title. I’m not ready to reveal that title for reasons I’ll explain later. But I feel like this might be the book that brings my sales back up. I have a glimmer of hope. I just need to make sure I’m realistic enough to realize that there’s tons more competition in ebooks than there used to be, and that things may not work out like I hope. I’m a resilient person, though, and also persistent. So there’s always the next book, and the next one, and the next one….

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Okay, I’ve been really, really lazy since I finished Round Three early. I should have been writing down notes for my next Libby Fox novella. I should have been proofing Starfane for the print version. I should have been…. You get the picture. I’ve been LAZY! But this weekend has inspired me to get to work.

I spent Saturday with some wonderful people. I arrived at the home of Susan Bischoff in time to eat some wonderful taco soup with her and Kait Nolan. We had tons of fun, talking a little shop, laughing at Twilight spoofs on YouTube, and just enjoying each other’s company. Later in the afternoon, Andrew Mocete and his lovely wife arrived. We all went out to dinner and had a really good time. The only bad thing about the restaurant is that it was too loud to talk to everyone at the table, since the football game was on and there were a lot of fans there. We got to watch Tennessee lose to Florida. 😦 My biggest regret was that I had other obligations on Sunday and couldn’t join everyone then. But I felt really lucky to be able to at least spend my Saturday with such awesome people. It has definitely kicked my butt a little and made me want to get back to writing!

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Fun and Excitement

I have two exciting things to tell today.

First, I had the most awesome weekend. I got to meet Susan Bischoff and Kait Nolan for the first time. We all traveled close to three hours to meet for lunch. Susan and Kait are so different, and they are both lovely people. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed getting together with them. Then Susan and I met up with Zoe Winters for dinner and had more good times. Zoe was her usual perky, fun self. :0) It was good to see her since I hadn’t been able to get together with her in a long time. It was such a satisfying day…so nice to be able to talk to other writers. I learned some things, too, so it was a profitable day as well.

Second, I have a brand new author to introduce. Her name is Michelle DePaepe and she’s just released her first novel, The Gardener, on Smashwords. Her Amazon listing will be coming soon. A mutual friend introduced us awhile back. Michelle had gotten frustrated with trying traditional publishing, so when she found out about e-publishing, she was very interested. I’ve tried to be her cheerleader, and I hope I helped. LOL. So I’m very excited to see her book online. I’ve read it and I really love it. It’s spooky, a little disturbing, with a touch of romance thrown in. Check it out!

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