Before we proceed, I ask you all to grab a drink and put your hands together for last week's winner of Lisa Maliga's e-book Notes from Nadir. Congratulations Ellie. Contact Lisa directly and make arrangements to receive this wonderful book onto your kindle.
Thank you Denise for hosting such a timely subject of publishing for all of us authors and for letting me grace your blog.
Answer: Yes, I did query both, I pitched my book in person to both, and I sent out many letters and was rejected. However, I was also asked for partials or the complete manuscript. In every case, not just a few, who actually read some of my writing, they replied that they “loved it, but it’s not right for us.” Yes, I know publishers and agents like to say that, but I also had over fifty people to read the book for feedback. I was told they couldn’t put it down. At one point I had two co-workers fighting over who would get the next chapter. All this before I hired an editor.
Because of the reaction of my test readers, I was confident that I had an excellent story.
Turning point is not just for our stories, it happens in real life too. I had two. The first was three years ago at The Colorado Gold Conference, hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, of whom I’ve been a member for years. (RMFW)
I had a two minute pitch, my fourth. I sat down across from this agent and began by introducing myself. She said, “How long have you been a member of RMFW? Why aren’t you published yet?”
I answered the best I could, began again, she interrupted to say, “Why aren’t you published yet?”
I answered and began again and she interrupted again with, well, by now you can guess. Was she rude? You bet. I was hurt, and I couldn’t get over it. I stopped writing altogether. I still monitored my critique group, but I didn’t take anything. Fast forward nine months later to May 2010. Okay…I didn’t connect the dots to realize until just now that nine months is significant in giving birth.
I began to meet with a fellow member of RMFW, Lynda Hilburn. She writes sexy, x-rated, vampire stories and is published, but had lost her publisher and just wanted to get together with a few other writers to talk about the publishing industry. I figured it couldn’t hurt for me to join in. It seems that every author has their share of horror stories, in Lynda’s case it was her previous publisher. Lynda had the e-rights to her novels and decided to put them up on Amazon.
Here’s the difference between us:
Lynda is a published author and had a following already. She had two books on Amazon kindle and smashwords, that were also paper books, but no longer available as paper. The first month, April, she earned $300 from the sale of her two e-books. By the end of May she was making $1,000 a month, making Lynda one of many authors on Amazon kindle's best seller list. She also added a novella and as of this writing has signed with a new publisher.
I am an unknown author. At this writing I have just put my first book on Amazon kindle, and smashwords, who distribute to Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Borders and others. I have plans to write two novellas this year, one to complement my epic fantasy and the other with a completely different setting and a phoenix heroine. I also plan to complete the next book in my epic fantasy series, titled: The Rise of Lord Sinon.
I didn’t do any of this blindly. I did research. I had first had knowledge of Lynda’s case and that was followed by many articles that I’ve read online. In many cases the experience of some was outstanding. But there are also those who don’t do well at all.
So, here’s what you must do:
Write the best story you can.
Get an editor and multiple eyes on it before you publish it.
Hire a professional illustrator (unless you are a professional illustrator.)
You can publish without doing any of that. But if you put out junk, no one will ever buy your books again. Amazon has multiple book covers to choose from but they are also on multiple books. You want yours to stand out.
Now that you have a gem, it’s time to put on your business hat.
You must promote your book. If you don’t you will fail. Do a blog book tour. Use CreateSpace or another such site to give you a print copy. Do book signings. Offer to meet with a book club. Join Goodreads. Ask others to read your book and do a review. Pay for the book so they don’t have to. Don’t expect to make a lot overnight. Especially if you are an unknown writer.
If you are close to publishing and need inspiration, go to this link and read what Joe Konrath of a Newbie's Guide to Publishing has to say:
Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite:
Currently, I'm selling an average of 7000 self-pubbed ebooks a month on Kindle. Those numbers are for 19 self-pubbed titles, though the top 6 account for more than 75% of my sales, roughly 5000 per month.
That means those six are averaging 833 sales, or $1700, per month, each. That equals $20,400 per year, per ebook, for my top sellers.
Those six are my top sellers because they're novels. My other 13 ebooks are novellas and short story collections, which don't sell as well.
Considering the average advance for a new novel is still $5,000, each of these ebook novels is quadrupling that, annually. And these numbers are rising, not falling.
Read the entire article, it’s worth your time.
Note how many books he has available: 19
This, my friends, is a numbers game. Now that you have paid your dues and you know how to write…do so.
Other web sites to help you:
2010 The Year Self-Publishing Lost Its Stigma, at PBS.
Ever heard of EPICA? Check them out for the latest news, contests, etc. on e-publishing.
The Blood Red Pencil did an entire series on this subject. To find, go there and in the search this blog type in e publishing.
N. R. Williams (Nancy).
Whoa, Nancy, that was super! Such a lot of info and links today. I hope your talk inspires all aspiring authors to polish off that story and hit the e-publishing road.
Now before our session ends a word about the PRIZES. N.R. Williams is happy to give away a copy of her e-book, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, as well as offer a chapter critique on a lucky someone's WIP.
Here's a little about The Treasures of Carmelidrium to help you decide if you'd like a copy:
THE TREASURES OF CARMELIDRIUM is available at Amazon for Kindle and Amazon UK for Kindle. The book is being sold for $2.99 until July 1, 2011 when it will increase.
Before you leave, please do the following:
•please leave a comment with your email address if you want to be in the draw for this week's ebook prize or the GRAND PRIZE and giveaway books and writing paraphanelia at the end of the series - next week is the last session (you must comment on each post to win, starting at the first post. If today is your first day, go back to the previous sessions, read and leave a comment. I'm keeping track...) I attached links to all previous sessions in session number four's post.
•ask Nancy a question or two
•if you're published (book/short stories), tell us about it in the comments
•e-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to find a Crit Partner.
Thanks for stopping by. Winners will be announced at our final Publication Party next week, Wednesday 23 February when author Ann Carbine Best will be speaking to us. Now isn't that going to be exciting!