The United Nations has classified all New York Weddings
as cruel and unusual punishment – for the groom.
Why would any woman gleefully embark on her wedding plans causing stress, grief and heartburn for everyone around her – all for a one-day event?
Most everywhere, weddings are a slam-dunk with a ceremony at the justice of the peace and perhaps a small reception with a punchbowl and cake. They wrap the whole thing up in an hour. However, as if by law, New York City requires you to make it an extravaganza.
Danny Freedman’s bride-to-be, Cindy Edwards, dreamed of this day since she first wore a tiara in her crib. Danny swore she had a copy of Brides magazine clutched in her tiny little fist the day she popped out of her momma and screamed her first words, ‘A-line Princess wedding gown – size five please’ the to delight of the delivery nurses who gave their nodding approval, ‘Oh nice choice. It’ll show off your cute figure.’ By ninth grade, she had the entire wedding day planned except for a minor detail, the groom, whom shall be named at a later date.
Guys have to do two things, rent a tux and show up on time sober, or as close to sober as possible after the chain of events leading up to this day of days.
The bride has read every book about weddings and have seen all the movies scripted from her point of view. It’s her day to be the fairy princess with a gaggle of bridesmaids preening and fawning all over her. She’s a lady-in-waiting who requires her knight in shining armor to whisk her away to an enchanted life.
Pity the poor groom who must endure this ordeal. He can't wait for it to be over so he can return to his natural state nestled in a recliner, chowing down a bowl of chili, cracking open a beer and watching the game as his wife and her girlfriends pour over the wedding photos reliving the pageantry.
#2 Handling Criticism
At a recent Writer’s Club meeting a fellow writer handed me a few pages of his novel and asked me for a review. He demanded I give it to him straight. I read the pages, said it seemed like a good plot even though Sci-Fi is not my genre. I pointed out that he had misused ‘there’ and “their” throughout the chapter. (I don’t recall the exact examples but it would be something like “They parked there car right over their.”)
His mouth dropped open, eyes widened and he snatched the papers out of my hand staring at them in disbelief. As he turned away he looked back and said, “That’s just your opinion.”
I replied, “Mine and that of Daniel Webster.”
As he sat he asked, “Who is Daniel Webster?”
I did not do this in public. It was a private conversation. I can only guess what caused his outburst. However, I relay this story to anyone who asks me to review his or her work.
If you don’t like the answers, stop asking the questions.
1. They’re, There and Their – Loose and Lose - To, Two and Too – Your and You’re: it’s not just my opinion. Review your work for common grammatical errors. You can find lists of them by googling Grammar Police: 30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making
2. One can only imagine what bestselling author, Richard Ford, thought when he read: “it suffers from a lack of compelling action and an emphasis on Bascombe’s dry meditations that obscures and minimizes the complex domestic structure the author initially presents.”
3. All writers, sooner or later, have to face criticism. It's the nature of the business. The criticism comes from your critique group, an honest rejection letter, an enraged reader or your mother-in-law. The critics are ever present and can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. Here are some thoughts on criticism that have helped me develop a thick skin over the years.
In fact, Ford got so angry about the review that he famously took one of Hoffman’s books and shot it full of holes. At the time, two tepidly received novels plus Hoffman’s negative review, Ford’s career looked to be in the toilet.
Of course, that’s not how it turned out. The Sportswriter is today considered a classic, and Ford is a well-known author.
#1 Creating a professional quality book is difficult.
#2 Handling criticism of your work
#3 What labels you an amateur
#4 Ban these words from your books
#5 Proper punctuation of dialogue
#6 The good news - Indie Publishing is easy
#7 The odds are against you
#8 Romantic Novels lead the sales categories
#9 Your title needs to be unique
#10 What sells as an eBooks may not sell in print
Smart Money is a cliché that has its roots in Wall Street. Just listen to any financial show and you’ll hear some talking head wax poetically about Smart Money this and that. The Smart Money is buying this stock. The Smart Money is selling that commodity. The Smart Money is looking at Real Estate again and on and on. But no one talks about Smart Money’s evil twin Stupid Money. What Stupid Money can do is wipe out your financial future, cost you your home, car and life savings. Stupid Money is that refrigerator strapped to your back as you try to swim across the lake. You’re doomed to drown. Building wealth for the future is discipline - not a secret. This book will help you make simple changes to achieve your financial goals. Learn small steps to create Smart Money habits based on my life-long experiences and that of others like you. By no means do I think those who mismanage money are stupid people, but the actions they take are stupid. Perhaps you can recognize yourself in some of these scenarios and make the Smart Money decisions.
For the complete article please visit Authors Publish Magazine
The 8 Major Publishing Trends of 2016
Written by Emily Harstone | November 7, 2016
I am starting off this article with a disclaimer. This article is not going to tell you what publishing trends are up and coming. I don’t know if books about rock stars are going to be the new YA trend or not. That isn’t my area of expertise, and frankly it is not where my interest lies. I am glad I don’t know what the next big thing will be, it makes life more exciting.
This article is all about the trends I have observed in the publishing industry, in terms of manuscript publishers, self publishing, and literary journals over the last year or so. The key word in the previous sentence is “I”. This article reflects my personal opinion and what I have noticed.
Because I write a review of a publisher every week for Authors Publish, I spend a lot of time researching publishers and publishing. As a professional submitter for literary journals I submit to over 400 literary journals a year, which means I spend a lot of time exploring that world as well. I also receive hundreds of emails every year about publishing at email@example.com.
Below are all the trends that I have noticed developing over the last year. Some I hope will stop, others I hope will continue.
Please follow the link above to read the rationale behind each of Emily Harstone's point.
1. The Euphoria of Self-Publishing is Wearing Off
2. Independent Publishers Are Becoming More Likely To Be Closed to Unsolicited Submissions
3. Digital First Imprints are Increasing
4. More Literary Journals Are Charging Reading Fees
5. Anthologies Are Starting to Charge Reading Fees
6. No Time For Rejections
7. Print Journals: Rarer and Rarer
8. Forums are the New Watchdog sites
To discover how to sell your self-published books by the truckload, download award-winning and best-selling author Alinka Rutkowska's free guide "How I Sold 80,000 Books" here: http://authorremake.com/book/
Today's Author Friendly resources for indies are brought to you by Karla King.
BIO: Carla King is an adventure travel writer, web expert, and pro-blogger who started a successful self-publishing journey in 1995 after she was turned down by traditional publishing houses.
Today she offers Author Friendly resources to help authors self-publish well, and the Self-Publishing Boot Camp education program of books and workshops.
Find out how you can ease your publishing journey atAuthorFriendly.com.
Carla, you have an impressive team and array of services for authors. How did you come up with all this?
When the self-publishing systems started to launch—starting with Mark Coker’s Smashwords in 2008—I would talk with the founders to figure out how the technology worked and to discuss their business models. I was fascinated and wanted to figure out who was serving authors best. They were always very forthcoming and we’d have a great time discussing the future of publishing as well. A lot of these folks created their companies to solve their own problems, and so they put a lot of heart into their businesses. The network grew over time and we’d meet at least annually at the San Francisco Writers Conference where I run the self-publishing track, as well as in my Self-Publishing Boot Camps. So, over the years, I just know the who and the how and can convey it very quickly. So authors hired me to tell them how to go about it so they didn’t spend time and money going around and around in crazy cul-de-sacs and dead ends. This became the core of my Author Friendly business, and then I started adding people I really trust to provide editing, formatting and design, website development and social media establishment, branding, and basically everything an author needs.
You started self-publishing in 1995. How did things change in the indie world over the last two decades?
The changes in self-publishing since I started in 1995 are massive. It was all technology driven and tech and the web were really booming! It’s natural that when something becomes easy people will do it. (We saw it with indie music, first.) So when Big Pub experienced a big fail, technology was there to fill the gap and put power into the hands of the artist.
How many books have you written?
Ha! That depends on what you call a book. I’ve written seven books that could be called “normal” books, but the definition of "book" is changing. I’ve written or created a dozen more in digital formats—anthologies and collections—that people read as books online or as downloads on their devices. It’s worth noting here that the construct of a book was defined by the abilities and economics of the printing press. We can throw that out the window now, but we’re still subconsciously constrained by it.
Do you still have time to write, with a thriving business for authors to run?
I have less time to write than I’d like, but I’ve got a plan to use the holiday lull to catch up on my creative writing. I’m creating online courses for Author Friendly to electronically duplicate myself and it also has the benefit of a lower price tag for authors.
What is your daily work schedule?
Work starts with writing—blog posts or working on my self-publishing book (I’m on the 4th edition, now). I try not to look at email until about 10am. Of course, this all changes if low tide is happening in the morning because I cannot resist the beach at low tide.
If I am working on a big project like a book or a course, I try to set three hours aside both in the morning and the afternoon to work on without interruption. I use the Pomodoro method with Focus@Will and I also employ an essential oil diffuser or take some along when I’m traveling. I always take time out to exercise, at least once but maybe twice a day—the low-tide walk or run, and yoga, bicycling, paddle boarding, or the gym. I get my best thoughts when my body is moving. If I’m traveling it’s a bit more challenging, and I’m happy if I can work on a project for an hour without interruption. I still use the same tools, though, and get lots of exercise.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten (or read)?
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. Just sit your butt down and do it.
What is the best marketing advice you’ve ever gotten (or read)?
I tell people to market to their most intimate tribe first and radiate out. In self-publishing, my closest tribe was a group of travel authors in San Francisco whose publishers failed them. You see how very niche that is? Then people talked to people and, because I used the right metadata on my website, that tribe expanded to all travel writers and then pretty much all authors. So market to your tribe, find out where they are—social media, forums, physical events and cities—and meet them there.
What has been your best marketing decision so far?
My best marketing decision was not intended to be a marketing tactic. I felt called to empower authors who want to publish their books, because I had done it myself and it wasn’t really that difficult. I’ve also worked to empower people who want to explore Baja on their motorcycle. To empower women who want to travel solo. It turns out that being helpful and selfless is a marketing superpower.
What has been your worst decision as a writer and how did you bounce back?
Aarg. This is embarrassing. I bought an expensive marketing training package and used their templates to create email newsletter copy. It really had been proven that the wording in this series of email blasts worked, but it was an epic fail for me. It didn’t sound like me, it didn’t feel like me, it wasn’t me! People had signed up for my email news to hear from me. So I got massive unsubscribes. Duh! Since then I have learned that my best voice is my most honest voice in both creative writing and copy writing.
Do you think of yourself as an author or as an entrepreneur?
I am both an author and an entrepreneur. I left my Silicon Valley tech writing job to start freelancing, which made enough money that I could take off to travel and write. My travel writing career has never made much money so I funded it with the tech writing jobs. But when I started helping people publish I saw that was a viable business and I really liked it. So I became a consultant, a teacher, and then a business owner, too. But I still love writing, though lots of it is how-to rather than creative writing.
What have been the key factors to your success?
People have called me lucky, but luck is where preparation meets opportunity. My dad always said that--especially when he was dragging me off to do something like help him fix the brakes on the tractor. I really appreciate all the mechanical skills I learned from him now and I tell him that every opportunity I get. Because that alone gave me the confidence to become independent and solve my own problems.
My career in high-tech as a tech writer and web editor stemmed from that early experience of problem solving. Following that, the experience in computer technology and the Internet helped me navigate this new world that is knitted together by the interwebs.
With this basis of confidence-building problem solving and my subsequent knowledge of things mechanical and technological offline and on, I was empowered to wrestle down my fear enough to take action—whether that was writing, travel, publishing, even relationships. Gee. Does it all come down to learning basic auto mechanics? I think it might!
Riding the wave of technology continues to be super exciting and empowering. Technology allowed my voice to come through in the 90s as a solo female motorcycle adventure traveler, which was unique at that time. I was also one of the first bloggers ever, though they didn’t call it blogging, then. My job test riding the Russian sidecar motorcycle for the American market, test riding the concept of realtime dispatches to the Internet, and then self-publishing the subsequent book, launched both my travel writing and publishing careers. It launched me in front of an audience of women who had feared taking a solo trip of any kind. It also launched me in front of motorcycle magazine editors, lifestyle magazine editors, prominent bloggers, and other people who helped spread the word about my writing and my businesses.
Editors saw it as a salable story and I got a lot of press. I was asked to speak at women’s conferences, motorcycle conferences, and writer’s conferences about not only the travel experience but about writing and publishing. And that is what eventually led to my other career in self-publishing as a teacher, consultant, and how-to book author. Self-Publishing Boot Camp and Author Friendly were born of those efforts, that need.
Looking back, I have seen that I have done what I loved—travel, technology, writing, and publishing—and in some sort of miracle it has all come together into a life that I love.
What do you think traditional publishers should learn from self-publishers?
Self-publishers know all about going lean and fast. Big Pub does things very slowly and will continue to be slow. Why does it take over a year from manuscript to retailer? I can’t think of any reason but bloat and bureaucracy. They use smaller teams or something. Their snail’s pace is typical of large companies but unnecessary, just the same.
What should self-publishers learn from traditional publishers?
Traditional publishing insists on quality and self-publishers need to slow down and make their books look as good as any that come from Big Pub, especially in editing and design. There are too many sloppily edited, badly designed self-published books. I encourage beta publishing as a way to find audience and market along with perfecting the book and learning about the publishing process. The tools are there—Gumroad, Leanpub, and Patreon—and they also empower you make money from your writing and other content before you publish.
What do you think the publishing landscape will look like in 5 years?
I think that the publishing landscape has just about leveled out after the last decade’s huge upheaval with its constant surprise and excitement.
In Big Pub’s big fail they’ve laid off a lot of the workers who made the books so beautiful—I find errors in books all the time now. But all those workers are now forming companies that do editing and design very beautifully. Big Pub makes most of their money from something like their top three percent of authors and I can’t see that changing. E.L. James, Danielle Steele, Dan Brown, Steven King.
There is an ongoing attempt to outsource the author discovery process and make money with tech, demonstrated by Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Author Solutions, the vanity press technology company that powers Balboa (for Hay House), Westbow (for Thomas Nelson), Archway (for Simon & Schuster), plus iUniverse, Trafford, Author House, Xlibris, and a host of other vanity imprints. It doesn’t work out for anybody because it has no heart. I’ve helped many authors extricate their books from these companies. Penguin Random House bought Author Solutions in 2012 and sold it in January 2016. They had it long enough to try to make it work, and, obviously, it didn’t.
The solution I like to think will trend in the next five years is an influx of Big Pub money into indie author tools. For example, Macmillan bought Pronoun (formerly Vook), which is an ebook creation and distribution tool. Macmillian funds Pronoun’s future development, which also inherently gives them the right to identify and offer contracts to the most successful writers using the platform. I think this kind of arrangement feeds the whole ecosystem quite nicely. That is, not trying to hammer the market into their shape, but to encourage and incubate and allow for a multitude of opportunities for success.
The new hybrid publishers also play a very important role in publishing by curating books, offering services, distribution packages, and marketing assistance to authors that fit with their interests and readers. The technology already makes it easy to organize us into tribes where authors, publishers, and readers can converse and trade. Hybrid presses are springing up everywhere. I’ve even been experimenting with the model by publishing adventure travel author friends under my Misadventures Media brand. Ron Martinez’s Aerio helps this along by easily allowing curation and a small percentage of sales from books using the platform. Ingram hopes so, too—they bought the company in late 2015.
Because publishing tech can only get easier there will not be any shortage of very badly written and self-published books in the marketplace, which is unfortunate. My hope is that reader recommendation sites like Goodreads (powered by Amazon), and Bookstr (which acquired The Reading Room), will continue to help sort through the slush pile. Word-of-mouth recommendations can never be replaced with tech, but they can amplify voices, whether it’s on social media or curated sites. In the end, the reading public is the gatekeeper. I also think that the local independent bookstore and library will keep their place in the ecosystem. I am very glad to see that their predicted demise has not come to pass.
In five years, as in today, any author who is self-publishing may choose to continue to enjoy earning 100% of their profits by self-publishing or they may be thrilled with a contract, as was self-published author Amanda Hocking. Authors Bella Andre (romance) and Hugh Howey (science fiction) sold print rights to publishers but kept the ebook rights.
It’s all a beautiful mess, and five years from now I see this mishmash of tribe-empowering technology, publishing options, and wheeling dealing continuing, along with super easy book production and recommendation engines that really work.
Please share some words of encouragement to authors who are still struggling.
I think of writing as the ultimate gift. Whether it’s a how-to manual or a mystery novel, your words have the potential to make a huge impact on a person’s life. The personal is universal. The more generous and intimate you are with your story or your knowledge, the more impactful it is. When I overcame my fear about sharing intimate and personal moments, thoughts, fears, and theories, I found surprisingly little criticism, a wider audience, and a boatload of appreciation and subsequent sales. Yay!
Where can we find you online? Do you have any presents for us?
AuthorFriendly.com is my resource for authors and self-publishers, where you can find people to help you or you can hire us to do a lot of the work for you. Go there to sign up for my email newsletter so that I can send you little presents to help you publish successfully at least once a month.
CarlaKing.com is my personal website and right now I’m blogging a lot about Baja as I pop back and forth between San Diego and my casa in Mulegé on the Sea of Cortez. I also blog for Discover Baja and Expedition Portal. If you are interested in adventure travel, motorcycles, 4x4s, paddleboards, boats and all the associated gear, go sign up there!
MisadventuresMedia.com is my small press, and I’ve started publishing other adventure travel writers there as well as my own books.
Yes! I have presents!
1) Metadata cheatsheet: http://bit.ly/afmetadatacheatsheet
Don't be afraid of metadata! This cheat sheet will help you organize your descriptions, biography, and keywords and phrases in the right word count needed by the various online retailers and distributors plus your Bowker ISBN record. It's possibly your most important marketing task—creating keywords and metadata, that is. Because these words will filter to Google and Amazon and all the places readers look for your book it's very important to choose them carefully. I think of metadata as a writer's best marketing partner. I write a lot about this in my self-publishing guide--4th edition is coming in 2017!
2) Travel writing presentation: http://bit.ly/hu16travelwriting
If you're a travel writer you'll appreciate this overview of the elements of a good travel story - theme, plot, scenes, and narrative arc - as well as how to edit, enrich, and get your writing published. These are the slides from a four-hour class I give sometimes, but I think you'll find a lot of the information stands on its own.
3) How to make more money from your writing and related works:http://bit.ly/2e6qAI3
Here are the slides from this popular presentation that explores the various ways you can repurpose your writing to make more money and get your work into the public eye, and maybe even do a little crowdfunding and pre-publishing as well. I think it will inspire you to get out there and connect with your readers, too! This is my favorite presentation because you can get results so quickly.
This is a must read for every writer
Almost every author I’ve met, whether they write literary fiction for a small press or category romances for Harlequin, has considered themselves an artist of some sort, and no one wants to equate selling their art to selling Kellogg’s or Coca-Cola. They don’t view their books as commercial products. But the purpose of branding is the same whether you’re selling books or breakfast cereal: to let customers know what they’re going to get before they buy. When you pick up a Coke, you know exactly what the soda is going to taste like. You know that the Lexus will have more luxury features than the Hyundai. When you pick up the latest Nora Roberts novel at the grocery store or a James Patterson book at the airport, you know what types of stories are within those pages. Known brands are comfortable, familiar, and comes with limited risk.
In an increasingly crowded marketplace, your greatest challenge is to eliminate risk for the reader. While some readers are willing to take a chance on a new author or a book they’ve never heard of, most want a guarantee that the next book they pick up is worth their time and money. If you establish an author brand that clearly conveys the types of books you write, readers will be more likely to take a chance on your book instead of the latest bestseller or award-winner.
Creating an author brand requires a seemingly straightforward formula:
You + Your Book = Your Author Brand
Your author brand is who you are and what you write. It’s fairly simple, but the tricky part is filling in those blanks in a way that’s meaningful and memorable. It has to be more than “I’m an ex-cop who writes mysteries.” There are a lot of authors out there with the exact same brand. You have to think beyond your genre and subgenre, beyond your day job or previous occupation. You have to identify the unique themes in your book and the aspects of your background that tie into those themes.
Let’s go back to the James Patterson example. Yes, he’s a former advertising exec, but that’s not the primary aspect of his brand. I would argue that more people know him for “Patterson Inc.” than his former career in advertising. They know him as the publishing powerhouse who comes up with dozens of story ideas a year and works with authors (in various capacities) to execute those ideas. His books are known for breakneck pacing and short chapters. And he keeps that brand consistent year to year, book to book.
A few other examples of successful author brands:
Mary Roach uses her interest in weird science and her sense of humor to create nonfiction books about little known aspects of our anatomy and physiology.
Marcia Clark was the prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson case who writes legal thrillers.
Dave Sedaris is a humorist and storyteller, known for his live performances and sardonic wit.
Your first step is to create a list of all the themes, characters, and types of stories you write. If you’re a debut author, it’s simple, but if you have a deep backlist and write in a wide range of genres, it can be a bit trickier.
Your goal is to find the common denominator. Your books may seem wildly different, but most authors I’ve met are drawn to certain types of stories and characters. Make a list for each book and highlight the common traits. Are your protagonists all women? Are they dealing with a haunted past? Are they all set in rural areas? Find the traits that run throughout your work and use that as a launching pad for your brand.
Now, it’s your turn! Make a list of all the aspects of your background. What’s your job? What type of area do you live in? What did you go to school for? What are your hobbies? Are you a parent? Animal-lover?
Once you have your list, highlight all the aspects of your background that relate to your book. For example, our author Margaret Mizushima writes mysteries set in Colorado that feature a working dog. The fact that she lives in Colorado and assists with her husband’s veterinary practice is a key aspect to her brand. That’s not ALL she does, of course, but the aspects of her background that don’t relate to her books have no place in her author brand, and she can keep those private.
Your author brand should inform all your promotional efforts. From your social media content to the types of events you attend, all should be a part of your branding message. This will reinforce the message of who you are and what you write. Soon, you’ll see more and more readers recognizing your brand and new readers taking a chance on your books.
I encourage you to do the exercises and share your author brand in the comments!
Dana Kaye is the owner of Kaye Publicity, Inc. and author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she frequently speaks on the topics of social media, branding, and publishing trends, and teaches online courses at KayePublicity.teachable.com.