#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14! Start Planning NOW!

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14!

TODAY (September 16, 2017) were events at our local library’s main branch (St. Louis County) for “Indie Author Day,” but YOUR library may have other plans! Check!

The second annual Indie Author Day will be held IN SOME PLACES on Saturday, October 14, 2017. This event brings together libraries and local writers around the world for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authorship.

Registration for Indie Author Day 2017 is officially open. Visit the Indie Author Day website, https://goo.gl/6HJZG3 . to learn more information about this year’s event and how to get involved in IAD programming near you.


From the Indie Author Day website:

HOSTING AN EVENT

In addition to a selection of on-demand video workshops that will be available from Indie Author Day sponsors, there are many activities for your #library to offer as part of its Indie Author Day 2017 event.

To get you brainstorming, here are some suggested activities that #libraries have done at past events:

—An #author panel featuring traditional, hybrid and self-published #authors from the community
—Presentations from local indie authors about writing, marketing and more
—Book readings and / or signings from local authors
—Presentations from local industry leaders
—Writing workshops
—Presentations and workshops to inform the writing community about tools available for them to use through the library
—Author readings and open mics, featuring short segments of each author’s works

Check out our Brandisty page, https://brandisty.com/indieauthorday . for logos, web banners, posters and postcards to help you promote your Indie Author Day!

Alert the media with our Press Release templates for Authors and Libraries [there are downloads for each on this website].

Are you a #library hosting Indie Author Day? Spread the word with these pre-written social media post. http://indieauthorday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Indie-Author-Day-Social-Media-Posts.pdfs [there are downloads for images, logos, more, on this website, such as the Partners’ Logo, below]!


Here are their sample posts (you can add your own hashtags and other info, such as “RT,” to these):
— Calling all #indieauthors! Join us as we celebrate our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct.
14!
— We’re hosting an event for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14! Join us if want to support our local
#selfpub and #indieauthors!
— Are you an #indieauthor? We’re #indie you! Join us for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!
— We’re excited to support our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!

Week TWO Info for “The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017,” run by Lisa DeSpain

“The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017” is hosted by:
Lisa DeSpain, “The Successful Author’s Book Coach” (her own eponym), who can be reached at: lisa@book2bestseller.com, and who can be found (and more info, also) at: http://book2bestseller.com
[I am not endorsing, recommending, or benefitting, myself. I have attended worthwhile webinars/workshops online led by a few of these presenters. Sharing, therefore.]

Lisa sent this note and schedule, below, to those of us who subscribe to her newsletter and who signed up to be notified of this coming week’s events in the The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017 (which runs May 8 – 19, 2017).

Sign up here: http://www.book2bestseller.com/authors-adventure-summit/ to get on the list, access the free events, or decide to pay and access more (I am not paying).

Hi – just a quick note to let you know what’s happening this upcoming week. I’ll be sending a daily schedule with links so you can easily click through to the summit interviews for the day. Here’s an overview of the week:

WEEK TWO SCHEDULE

Monday, May 15
Derek Murphy, “Fantastic Fiction Promotional Strategies” http://book2bestseller.com/derek-murphy
Jill Celeste, “The Director of Marketing for Your Book Business” http://book2bestseller.com/jill-celeste
Elena Rahrig, “Traditional Publisher or Self-Publisher?” http://book2bestseller.com/elena-rahrig

Tuesday, May 16
Eric Van Der Hope, “Finding Your Tribe & Building Your Platform” http://book2bestseller.com/eric-van-der-hope
Lori Hardegree, “Facebook Secrets for Authors (The Red Hot Edition)” http://book2bestseller.com/lori-hardegree
Penny Sansevieri, “Offline and Online Marketing Strategies” http://book2bestseller.com/penny-sansevieri

Wednesday, May 17
Shari Stauch, “Fun Ways to Build Your Author Platform” http://book2bestseller.com/shari-stauch
Kiki Chatfield, “New Publicity Methods You’ve Never Heard Of” http://book2bestseller.com/kiki-chatfield
Kimberley Grabas, “6 Essential Elements of a Flawless Book Launch” http://book2bestseller.com/kimberley-grabas

Thursday, May 18
Sharon Hamilton, “Becoming a Bestselling Author” http://book2bestseller.com/sharon-hamilton
Alinka Rutkowska, “Why 72% of Self-Published Authors Never Sell
More Than 1,000 Books” http://book2bestseller.com/alinka-rutkowska
Jen Levitz, “5 Keys to Writing a Lead Generating Business Book” http://book2bestseller.com/jen-levitz

Friday, May 19
Judith Briles, “The Book Shepherd” http://book2bestseller.com/judith-briles
Lisa DeSpain, “Summit Wrap-Up” http://book2bestseller.com/lisa-interview

WEEK ONE SCHEDULE (may need to pay to view older shows…)

Monday, May 8
Randy Peyser, “How to Get a Book Deal with a Publisher” http://book2bestseller.com/randy-peyser
Tamara Monosoff, “Adding Interactivity and Working with Affiliates” http://book2bestseller.com/tamara-monosoff
Tenita Johnson, “Beyond the Bestseller List” http://book2bestseller.com/tenita-johnson

Tuesday, May 9
Valerie Gangas, “Going Pro on the Path to Enlightenment” http://book2bestseller.com/valerie-gangas
Laila Ali, “From Traditional to Self-Published” http://book2bestseller.com/laila-ali
Rocky Callen, “Learning How to Bleed Ink” http://book2bestseller.com/rocky-callen

Wednesday, May 10
Amanda Young, “Finding Clarity as You Write Your Book” http://book2bestseller.com/amanda-young
Ellie McLove, “Editing: When to Change it or Leave it for Style” http://book2bestseller.com/ellie-mclove
Nina Amir, “Inspiration to Creation” http://book2bestseller.com/nina-amir

Thursday, May 11
Tamara Dever, “The Selling Power of Book Design” http://book2bestseller.com/tamara-dever
Joel Friedlander, “Secret Ways that Authors Really Make Money” http://book2bestseller.com/joel-friedlander
Robin Cutler, “Getting Ingram Distribution through IngramSpark” http://book2bestseller.com/robin-cutler

Friday, May 12
Steven Spatz, “Distribution + Service = A Winning Combination” http://book2bestseller.com/steven-spatz
Kristin Steele & Dan Verdick,”The Top 4 Things You Need to Know About Book
Marketing” http://book2bestseller.com/kristin-and-dan

The Presenters for both weeks of The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017

Lisa ended her email with a few cute lines, then this info:

P.S. If you think you’re going to have trouble watching the interviews on their live dates, you might want to get a VIP access pass (if you haven’t already). Here’s the link to become a VIP: http://www.book2bestseller.com/masterclass-vip/

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

I am sorry to have to post this review, but I have given the author, Amy Collins, over a month to make this right. Despite many emails preceding and after the one I quote, below, including promises of payment by a certain date and apologies for its lateness and a new promise, she has posted no payment and provided an unusually bizarre response to my having given her the deadline to respond by the end-of-business yesterday (Thursday, January 28)—see below.

I am appalled and surprised that someone who is publishing a book on writing entitled The Write Way: Everything You Need to Know about Publishing, Selling and Marketing Your Book, would unironically send out ARCs and then another version pre-publication that are both riddled with errors for reviewers.

Know this: the Author and her “publisher” (which I now think is comprised of Collins and one other person in the business) INVITED ME TO REVIEW THIS; I did not solicit her and I rarely do reviews.

After I had read about twenty pages and marked up every page, including the cover, with up to 15 errors PER PAGE, I sent her emails, left voicemails, asked her to communicate with me before I continued. I couldn’t believe this was her final draft. Maybe there was another version, I hoped?

She wrote to tell me that she had had a death in her family and while she was out, that “someone at her office sent out the wrong ARC” (there are two?). Then, for many days, she mostly did not respond (except via automated emails saying she would respond within 24 hours) for this entire communication stream.

She did send me a PDF of another ARC version which was supposedly “the right one,” but it, too, was filled with most of the same errors and some new ones. I read about twenty pages into that and emailed her back, telling her that this PDF ARC was a “new” but not a better version.

I asked for a newer, final ARC; no response. I now think there isn’t a better version (yet).

I waited a few days and sent the email, below. After reading my proposal, the author wrote back to say that she knew that I had given her a break on my editing rate (I did have sympathy for her at that point). She wrote to say that she was very grateful for my offer and agreed to pay me for my editing and postage for me to ship the marked-up edition back to her upon receipt of payment. She promised to pay “by the middle of January.”

I told her that I didn’t want to post a negative review. I’d rather that she revise and improve the book before publication: win-win. Plus, I had already completed reading and marking up the book and had marked up every page. I would be happy to get paid for my work.

January 15 came and went; no payment. More emails, more promises, and no payment, and here we are, January 28: nothing. The author said on January 18 that she had been traveling (and still is, apparently; now she’s on a cruise with other authors and publishers, publicists, etc.), but has she obviously access to the internet, since she’s live tweeting from the cruise ship!

I sent her this on Twitter yesterday (1/28/16):

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
to @NewShelvesBooks AMY: Deadline is EOB today Central USA time. My review goes live at 2 AM CST USA Friday, 1/30/16 if no payment is posted

She responded, astonishingly and terribly unprofessionally:

from Amy Collins ‏@NewShelvesBooks
Hi @sallyemberedd Grateful for all the time you put in. Had to redirect the $ to a project I am afraid. I know your review will be spot on.

To which I replied, with a quoted retweet of the above:

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
Sally Ember, Ed.D. Retweeted Amy Collins
This is known as “breach of contract” by professionals. We had a written agreement. #Youoweme #Payup

I won’t bore you with all of our previous correspondence.

In this post, then, the review occurs, starting with the email I sent the author in which I detailed for her many of her book’s most frequent and egregious errors.

Dear Amy,

I don’t know who your developmental, copy and proofreaders/editors are, but they should all be fired.

Here are a sampling of the errors I’ve found, so you know I’m not being a “troll” or pretending to know what I’m doing. You have these types and/or numbers of errors:

—3 errors ON THE COVERS (back and front and spine) in that your formatting is inconsistent (font color, size, style)
—1 error on the TITLE page (do not capitalize “by” or use it at all, actually; this is not a college essay)
—5 errors on the copyright page (no city of publication is listed; no proper copyright symbol was inserted; no need for “by”; missing colons)
—up to 15 errors(!) per page, with at least one and usually more errors on every page throughout the entire book
—TOC has no page numbers in either version, or the page numbers are wrong, and is on the verso rather than recto side
—Some pages have no numbers (the entire Glossary; all front matter)
—paragraphs and some sentences inexplicably start and end mid-sentence on many pages
— bullets are not formatted in a standard fashion within your own book; most of them are formatted incorrectly; AND, you inserted rhetorical questions within them while you BULLETED those questions(!?)
—seem to have no idea how to use (or when to use) the Oxford comma, apparently, and neither do your editors
—random sections (not consistent as to which or why) in italics
—show no permissions granted from the original authors, nor even where the pieces end, when you quote entire articles within your book
—repeating entire sentences and/or paragraphs and/or concepts from one page to the next within the same chapter, sometimes on facing pages. Word for word, sometimes
—use “so” over a hundred times, mostly inappropriately and without proper punctuation
—no standardization I could fathom for/ among and between your levels of headings regarding font, font size, font styles, alignment and/or purposes
—chapters do not all start on the proper side and you have random blank pages between some chapters (which do not result in their staring on the proper side—recto)

This and much more are wrong. I can’t even group or list all your errors.

All unacceptable, wouldn’t you agree?

I had one idea: You could use this as an opportunity to discuss the very things you warn other indies against within your book, and I would work with you on that if you choose to be honorable and do that.

Or, you could pretend it’s all fine, try to fix the errors yourself (good luck with that; you obviously have no clue how to edit your own work), and hope my review sinks to the bottom beneath all your sycophants’ fake ones.

Anyone who gives this book more than 2 stars (and that would be for content, not professionalism), is lying or has no idea how to read or what to expect from a professional nonfiction book.

I actually got quite a lot of good information from this book and do not want to slam you, but your whole “death-in-the-family—someone sent the wrong version” (in a two-person office?) sounds to me, now, like “the dog ate my homework.”

I am sorry for you any anyone who buys a poorly edited version of this book.

Here is another idea: if you pay me $400 (which is low-balling my rates, considering how much time I put into my mark-up and these emails), plus $5 shipping, I will send you my marked-up copy.

Then, when you complete all the revisions, send me a new one and I’ll review it at that point.

And, now, as we know, I will not receive any payment for my work, despite her emailed promise to do so. I still have the edited copy.

Here are some photos of the mark-ups:

write way cover
front cover of The Write Way with font, color, size errors and inconsistencies.

write way 1
There are multiple errors on almost every page and not one page without an error.

write way 2 upright
Apparently, can’t even keep paragraphs together; this occurs on several pages. How on earth does a copyeditor/proofreader not see these types of formatting mistakes?

write way 3 upright
There are up to 15 errors on some pages; this one has only 8.

Believe me, I take no pleasure in this.

I would certainly have preferred to have been paid for my time and expertise and to have had a positive relationship with this author.

I also wanted this book to be everything it said it would be and for it to live up to its title and promises. Many other authors would then be able to benefit from it.

However, since Ms. Collins doesn’t keep her word and seems to be clueless as to how to behave professionally, I am no longer surprised by the poor quality of the writing, the editing and the proofreading. Very disappointing, though, wouldn’t you agree?

Whoever did the editing and proofreading should have to refund their money to Ms. Collins. If she or anyone else continues to hire them, s/he/they should fire these horrible excuses for professionals immediately.

As I already stated, there are many great points, tips, ideas and resources in this book, if readers can ignore or get past all the mistakes and problems with the formatting, writing, proofreading and repetitions.

Especially for amy writers who are new to self-publishing, such writers would benefit from reading this book and taking notes. Do as she says, not as she does!

Try to borrow it; don’t buy this version!

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

Definitely do not hire the author or her team for anything at all, ever. She calls herself a “teacher” and an “expert,” but I also found mistakes on her website (no surprise, now), which is: http://www.newshelves.com/ Do not contract with New Shelves for anything since they seem to have with no respect for agreements, unless you’re willing for her/them to decide arbitrarily to put time and money into other projects.

Sorry to have to post this saga and review. I would vastly have preferred the other plan to have occurred, as we had agreed.

When you get back from your cruise, fix your book and try to behave more professionally in the future.

proofreading-details-1
image from http://www.michellerenegoodhew.com

Announcing: Timult Books!

Announcing the formation of my own small press:

logo_1833057_print high rez  transparent

For now, Timult Books (pronounced with the long “i” as it “eye”) publishes print and ebook versions of The Spanners Series, which are science-fiction/ romance/ multiverse/ psi-infused/ utopian stories for adults, Young and New Adults about our alternative present(s) and near future(s).

Soon, I may accept others’ publications or write some of my own that are not part of that series. All publications are somehow to be related to the science-fiction/ speculative fiction themes of timultaneity, timulting, timult (these are terms invented by my actual son, Merlyn Ember, for and Clara Branon’s son, Zephyr Branon in The Spanners Series).

The terms refer to the simultaneous nature of all time and the multiple timelines in our multiverse (timultaneity) which some people have the special skill to be able to be perceiving/”seeing” and “knowing” (which is timulting). When they use their skills to look into various possible and actual “presents,” “pasts” and “futures,” that person is said to timult their own and/or others’ events, circumstances and lives.

These URLs, below, are now mine. For a while, they all redirect to THIS site (http://www.sallyember.com) and are not developed at all, until I decide to put in the time to have a separate website for the publication company. When I am ready, I’ll be using the first one only, timultbooks.com .
http://timultbooks.com
http://timultbooks.net
http://timultbooks.org
http://timultbooks.info
(I purchased the other three so no one can use them and confuse anyone by having anything that is not published by MY company on those sites.)

If you are an indie author who would like to have your writing, either fiction of the speculative / science-fiction genre, such as short stories, novellas, novelettes, novels, graphic novels, or poetry, screenplays, nonfiction or essays that utilize these themes or topics to be developed under this imprint and wear the banner of logo_1833057_print high rez  transparent, contact me at sallyember AT yahoo DOT com .

I provide the services of editing, formatting, proofreading, writing tutoring for variable and negotiable hourly rates.
I also offer marketing and other types of support and assistance for a small fee or barter, regardless of how your books are published.

If your writing fits into the Timult Books‘ themes and you want to “join” my small press, let’s talk!

If you’re feeling congratulatory, supportive, and are somewhat “flush” and/or want to celebrate my writing, videocasts and publishing accomplishments and hope for more, please consider a contribution to my #crowdfunding campaign (which entitles you to “rewards” ranging from a free ebook to discounts on my services to writers), at http://www.patreon.com/sallyember

OR use the PayPal donation button on my site (look to the right sidebar) for a non-reward contribution opportunity.

I am putting The Spanners Series’ ebooks into print!

I am putting The Spanners Series’ first three Volumes of ebooks into print-on-demand!

Announcement: NEED FUNDING HELP!

coins image
image from http://www.kevinsmithukip.com

As soon as I can raise the money to purchase my 10 ISBNs, I can put my print editions up for sale on Amazon via CreateSpace! Turns out it is important for series authors to have their own International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and for indie authors to retain the publisher’s rights by owning their ISBNs rather than allowing the original purchaser of the ISBN to be listed as the “publisher.” Therefore, I have to forego the free and discounted ISBNs provided everywhere and buy my own.

If you’d like to support putting my books into print, please use either my #Crowdfunding Campaign site: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember, which entitles you to “rewards,” such as a free ebook ($4.00 donation) and/or discounted proofreading, editing or writing tutoring, depending upon the size of your donation and how many get there before you, or
the PayPal Donate button here on my site http://www.sallyember.com allows you to contribute any amount to my effort.

10 ISBNs cost $295 if purchased together, which is a great deal because buying a single ISBN costs $125, if purchased separately.

So, I hope I am finally doing it! Got my formatting gloves on, cracking my knuckles and biting all bullets.

My original cover art will carry over (THANKS, WillowRaven!), and all other aspects will be faithful to the ebook versions, with a few surprise additions.

Special thanks to Annie Douglas Lima for posting a guide to doing this so that I can use the Print on Demand feature of CreateSpace on Amazon, and to Madeline Duffy for providing a template I could revise and use.

Volume I is ready as of 10/20/15!just need the cash for ISBNs

I plan to have each Volume of the three published so far ready for sale as print books no later than December 12, 2015.

Wish me luck! Contribute! Tell your friends!


image from http://powerthruconsulting.com

Watch this space for release dates and purchase links.

#BookMarketing: What I haven’t done and intend to do soon

Thanks to Doris-Maria Heilmann of Savvy Book Writers for her Free Checklist for “Passive” Book Marketing, I now have (and am sharing) a great list and resources within it. Link below.
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/free-checklist-for-passive-book-marketing/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SavvyBookWriters+%28Savvy+Book+Writers%29

#BookMarketing: What I haven’t done and intend to do soon

Never heard about this!

Bowker’s Worldwide Listing
http://www.bowkerlink.com

Bowker Link logo

“You may know Bowker from ordering your ISBN numbers, but they are also the provider for “Books In Print and Global Books In Print” that contain listings of bibliographical information for international book titles available in the USA or any other part of the world, in bookstores and libraries. Setting up a new book on Bowkerlink is easy and FREE. Read more in this blog post: http://www.savvybookwriters.com/is-your-book-listed-worldwide/

I felt better when I went to the link, above, and read the intro:
“Few authors have ever heard about BowkerLink: a source for publishers and distributors seeking to update or add to title listings, found in ‘Books In Print,’ ‘Global Books In Print,’ and the ‘Publisher Authority Database.’ How can readers, bookstores or librarians in Japan, Australia, UK or Belize find your book and read, buy or lend it?”

Doris-Maria Heilmann provides a step-by-step sequence for putting a book on Bowkerlink right here. Do it and whatever else you have neglected to do to market your book from her great list.

Check out the rest of her site as well, with many archived posts that are still relevant and useful (this one is from 2013)! http://www.savvybookwriters.com

Luckily, I am not new to marketing, so as I ramp up for the release of my third ebook, Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change of The Spanners Series (sci-fi/romance, adults/YA/NA), which goes into pre-orders @ half-price on 11/1/15, $1.99 through 12/7/15, then becomes $3.99 on release day, 12/8/15, with a cover reveal on 10/26/15 on http://www.aleshaescobar.com), I am pleased to discover that I have already accomplished (but need to update) most of what’s on the above list.

logoAuthorsDen

Volume I, This Changes Everything, became permafree when I released Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, in the spring of 2014, which is also $3.99.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
All links, reviews, author interviews and updates: http://www.sallyember.com

final cover print

IndieReCon2 = April 15-17, 2015, ONLINE and FREE! #IndieReCon #IRC15

ALLi_IRC2015-RGB_websitetabsolid

The online IndieReCon2 conference is “a 3-day global event to promote quality and craft in #indie #publishing…scheduled for April 15-17, 2015, with online seminars, workshops, discussions and master classes culminating in a reader-centered, Indie #Author Fringe Fest live!”

Our posts, talks and online seminars cover all stages of the publishing process:

—Author Education: How to Write and Publish Well
—Author Empowerment: Finding Your Best Pathways to Publication
—Reaching Readers: Understanding and Serving Your Readers

“10 Reasons to Attend IndieReCon2” HERE:
ONE: “IndieReCon2 is FREE to attend.”
TWO: “IndieReCon2 is a conference for authors by authors.”

Click link below for the other 8 reasons:
http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/10ReasonsToAttendIndieReCon2.pdf

REGISTER HERE:
http://indierecon.org/register/

SPEAKERS LIST HERE:
Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, and Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors (sponsor of this event), and many others!
http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/All-you-need-for-IndieReCon-2015.pdf

…and more info, plus photos and bios of speakers HERE:
http://indierecon.org/speakers/

EVENTS LIST HERE:
http://indierecon.org/events/

PRIZES/COMPETITIONS LIST HERE:
http://indierecon.org/competitions/

Learn more about the ALLi and its Ethical Code HERE:
http://allianceindependentauthors.org

ALLiEthicalAuthor_Final-Outlines-300x173

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups
Reposting from one year ago, since it’s all still true and useful and I have new Followers/Readers

Everyone know the biggest drawback to #self-publishing is the isolation. Yes, every #author who doesn’t collaborate in their #writing writes alone. However, prior to the explosion in self-publishing, most books and ebooks that came to readers went through several other sets of eyes and had several editing and revision drafts done by others that helped polish and tighten the writing prior to publication.

artsy-writer-working
image from vidyasury.com

Today more than ever before, pieces of writing from short stories, blogs and articles to full-length books, both nonfiction and fiction, are getting all the way to a reader with no other editor than the writer. This is not a great situation for most readers or writers.

Because many writers seek professional companionship and critiques as well as audiences for drafts and new ideas, writers’ groups have sprung up for many centuries, both formal and informal. These groups usually meet regularly. Size can vary from a pair to a large group of a dozen or more.

The activities in the group can include public readings and/or sharing of written material with participants’ immediate oral comments, pages returned with mark-ups and discussions of the shared pieces. Locations can vary and many are not available free, so some groups charge a fee or require members to pay dues to cover costs and perhaps invite a speaker/presenter to conduct a workshop or give a talk on occasion.

writers_group 1
image from http://www.audreypress.com

Writers’ groups often appoint or hire a facilitator to guide and contribute to the critique. In better-run groups, this leader also keeps time and makes sure the comments are constructive and fair.

However, some groups are not well-run. The ground rules are not clear. Time is not equally distributed because it isn’t tracked well. Comments are not always fair and constructive. The facilitator dominates the discussion. Discussions veer away from the writing into personal stories and tangents introduced by participants. Suggestions are made that are not conducive to the writer’s intent, restrictions, topic, genre or format.

The diverse types of knowledge and experience among participants and in a leader of a writers’ group can be rich sources of varied perspectives OR generate too many irrelevant and unhelpful comments.

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups

CONS: An unskilled or distracted facilitator
— allows too many destructive comments to occur and this encourages more of the same
— allows the exposed author to experience immediate hurt feelings or bewilderment
— allows the writers to leave the critique session discouraged and confused by conflicting advice and too many off-topic remarks
— offers too many comments and dominates the discussion, shutting down, arguing with or interrupting other participants.

Writers in poorly-run groups can be led astray, which can causes them to depart from writing in their own voices and to lose sight of their personal or professional writing purposes. Many writers get discouraged or even “blocked” by attending poorly run writers’ groups.

BEWARE! Better to be isolated than to attend a group that operates negatively.

critique
image from thewildwriters.com

PROS: An skilled or focused facilitator
— leads a well-run group peopled by dedicated, experienced writers as well as “newbies” who each feels comfortable sharing and contributing
— trains and supports members to utilize the time effectively for receiving and offering constructive critiques, with newbies learning from old-timers the most effective methods for delivering and receiving criticism
— can foster an atmosphere of professional support that provides many gems of advice and new points of view for each member, even ones who don’t share in every meeting.

These productive sessions are wonderful catalysts for the writers who share drafts and any who attend. Authors in well-run writers’ groups return from each meeting with new vigor for editing, revising and creating new content.

Tips for Writers’ Groups:
1) Productive critique sessions are NOT riddled with “we loved it,” “it’s great,” and “keep going” with little or nothing else.
Critics must provide reasons for their opinions, especially when they’re positive, so that writers learn what we do well and can replicate our successes.
Critics must also defend their opinions that tell a writer to make changes by offering suggestions for revision or reasons for the ways the writing doesn’t “work” for the reader/listener.

2) Without the prompting of a skilled, focused leader, opinions may be offered with insufficient or no reasons given. Offering positive or negative opinions without rationales is not useful to a writer and should not be allowed.

3) Focus, clear ground rules (e.g., the requirement to give reasons for opinions, taking turns, sharing time equally) and giving both emotional and cognitive responses to a piece of writing are all parts of a productive writers’ group.

4) If YOUR writers’ group is not productive and positive enough, make an effort to change it or leave it. Start your own or join a different group.

5) Networking has never been easier. http://www.Meetup.com is a source of in-person writers’ groups. You can also check your local library’s, college’s, county’s/parish’s, state’s/province’s and country’s organizational listings for professional writers’ groups in your geographic area or genre. Check Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and many writers’ associations and genre-centered groups online and around the world for possible writers’ groups, critique opportunities and other networking options. Some groups are now meeting online and virtually via SKYPE, iCHAT, Google Hangouts, etc.

CA writers club logo

If you are a writer seeking a group, I hope you find or start a great one!

Best of luck in your writing.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

What is the value of social networks in easing the loneliness of the solo writer? How do online groups/communities provide opportunities for sharing ideas? How do today’s writers, especially for those newly published or about to seek options in publication, benefit from building communities of virtual friends?

There are now thousands of online groups/communities a writer can join. Some are only available via membership in existing social media sites, such as Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Others are stand-alone groups that have their own websites and memberships but may also host a page on any of the other social media sites to attract and inform potential members and continue to post info to members regularly.

Then, there are the groups, chat rooms or fora one can join, lurk on and/or contribute to on Yahoo, KindleBoards, Smashwords, Bublish, Authonomy, Jukepop Serial, Wattpad, and probably hundreds more, Add to that specific professional sites’ groups, such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc., plus international groups and marketing sites and it makes one’s head spin.

If you are a blogger as well as a fiction writer, if you are a new and/or indie pub author or just one of millions who has no outside PR firm hired to market your books, you NEED groups/communities to get your “brand” known, find readers, attract followers and fans, get “pingbacks,” improve your ALEXA rating, your KLOUT or SNAP scores, get a Google Page Ranking for your website….

Don’t you?

How does a busy writer wade through all these opportunities to decide where to plant one’s online presence “flag” and still have time to write? The discerning writer who actually wants to protect your time and keep writing while marketing effectively can use these 10 criteria to choose your online memberships.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

Join-us-banner

image from: http://www.tabularasa.com.au

DECIDE whether or not to:

1. PAY or stick with FREE memberships?
Some groups are free; some start out free or have a free level but change into/have paid memberships that provide additional services or opportunities to those who pay. If you have an unlimited budget or find yourself drawn to one or more of these groups and can afford it, go ahead and become a paid (upper-level) member. Some of these groups’ upper levels really do offer services to authors that are useful; some just say they do but when you read carefully, the “services” are not much more than occasional tweets.

Beware of those that over-promise, do not deliver, or are vague about what paid membership avails members of before paying. Research them: search for the group’s hashtag or tweet handle and then privately message someone [not the leader] about specific ways that being a paid member benefits him/her.

So far, the most I have paid to “belong” to any group or purchase any “marketing” service was $15 and it wasn’t worthwhile. If you do join a group and pay your fees or dues, make sure you’re getting what you pay for and only renew if it’s worth it: no automatic renewals!

pay dues

2. Participate in “review swaps”?
As a newbie desperate for reviews for seemingly invisible books, I found these groups to be so tempting. They seemed so supportive. They offer REVIEWS, sometimes in great quantity, sometimes with rankings and votes as well. But, free or not, these review “exchanges” come with several “prices,” and I personally decided the prices were too high.

For one, I am not comfortable providing pre-arranged and necessarily positive reviews (usually these swaps require/request a review rating of 4 or higher) for books I haven’t yet read in order to get the same for my own books (which the “reviewers” may or may not fully read). I “got into trouble” for daring to critique the books I read for being under-edited, overwritten, poorly constructed, badly plotted, shallow, etc.

Second, and much more chilling: if you join these groups and participate, you run the risk of having any or all of your reviews summarily removed from Amazon for not being inauthentic (some rightly so).

Third, some social media sites (Goodreads, for one) monitors members’ activities and sends messages to those members it believes are abusing the site, such as by “buying” or “trading” votes on Listopia, for example, or providing “fake” 5-star reviews to numerous members’ books. If you even get accused and especially when caught, you will discover that most sites’ TOS say they can suspend your account permanently and remove your books’ reviews, rankings, votes, etc., often with no warning and no recourse.

banned from Amazon

Although I joined some of these groups initially, I found out all of this later. Then, I removed myself within a few months of joining. I never paid to join.

If you are comfortable with the risks and conditions, go right ahead and participate.

3. Participate in Blog Hops and other “required” activities?
Some of these are great and worth doing. Others, not so much.

Look around, visit a few, comment, see what happens. THEN, decide.

4. Join a “Tweet” team or use group hashtags when posting?
This is highly recommended by some, disregarded by many. When someone posts nothing on Twitter but lists of others’ handles and the group’s hashtag, NO ONE CARES. Don’t do that.

But, if your group actually retweets, comments, replies, shares, ENGAGES with each others’ tweets or posts, that is worthwhile and those groups are worth joining.

5. Become a regular responder/poster or stay in the “shadows” (read/lurk but don’t comment, “LIKE,” +1 or post)?
I highly recommend lurking/reading many days’ or months’ worth of posts for some “Boards,” Communities or Groups before posting yourself. Get the “culture” of the group: the tone, the topics, the length, the repartee, the purposes. See if these resonate with you and your “brand” or style. If yes, go right ahead and join in the conversation. If not, move on.
Do not join a group to argue, criticize, lambast or attack.

Remember: the internet is “forever”: if you get into a “flame war,” readers/fans and publishers (and employers) can find it years later. Perhaps use a pseudonym for controversial posts.

Zooey Deschanel quote about trolls

6. Become a “help offered,” “help requested” or both type of participant?
You can become a resource to others on many sites (Quora, Ask an Expert, Reddit, etc.) or request help yourself.

Respect, assistance and expertise are admired. Whining, complaining, false information or bragging: not.

7. Join as yourself, your brand/books/website, your pseudonym?
EVERYTHING you post becomes part of your brand unless you use pseudonyms. The intentional and judicious use of pseudonyms is recommended, particularly if you write in vastly different genres (children’s books and erotica) or want to comment on controversial topics but not affect your brand.

If you become a “content curator,” offering information, help, creative/fun posts, and these are consistent (or at least not contradictory) with your brand, go for it! Join groups and comment/post frequently as yourself. Get to know/be known by the members, become a fan /follower of theirs.

I belong to several groups whose members and I are becoming virtual friends. We support each other’s efforts.

encouragers-wanted

image from: http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com

These are the groups worth joining and continuing to be active in and are valuable even when you have little time. If you comment here with one of yours, I’ll share some of mine!

Dump the rest.

8. Join any genre-specific or topic-specific groups?
If you are a “genre” writer, then, YES: join one or more of these groups.

I belong to sci-fi, romance, paranormal, ebooks, indie pub, fantasy, “clean” indie, female-oriented, YA, speculative fiction, blogger, author, writer, marketing, science, tech, G+ HOA help and many other groups that I interact with, enjoy and learn from weekly.

Be sure to read and follow each group’s posting guidelines carefully to avoid getting disliked, kicked out or otherwise censored.

9. Offer any giveaways, have contests, provide guest spots yourself?
If you have print books or swag, go right ahead and offer it/them. I highly recommend that you think of what you have to offer and start offering (e.g., free PDFs of writing tips, samples of your writing, free passes, discount coupons) whenever you can.

I have a blog (http://www.sallyember.com/blog) and an almost-weekly Google+ Hangout On Air (CHANGES HOA), so I can and do offer guest blog opportunities and guest starring spots. If you’d like to propose a guest blog topic and date and/or be on CHANGES, get in touch with me here: sallyember@yahoo.com

I am also a series ebooks novelist, so I offer the first book in The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as “permafree,” which is highly recommended for newbies to do, once we have subsequent books for sale.

When you are doing many other types of writing and interacting regularly with several online groups/communities, you can occasionally plug your own books! Like, NOW!

logoAuthorsDen

10. Enter any contests or pay for reviews or marketing?

When a group’s entire purpose is to further its own ends and fill its coffers with entry fees, service charges, etc., these make me suspicious. But, I am naturally cynical.

I decided early on not to pay to enter any writing contests, not to pay for reviews, not to pay for “members’ services” and mostly not to pay for marketing. These are my decisions and not everyone agrees with them.

Some individuals offer a combination of free and for sale services/marketing, so you can decide which you want to participate in/join. I have met several great people and had excellent experiences in some groups in this way: I participated in their free activities and then did not continue when the next steps required payment since I couldn’t afford or did not need those services at that point. I do give these “helpers” regular “shout-outs” and thank them publicly for all they do/have done, actions which I hope make up for my lack of financial support to them.

The professionals left me alone when I asked them to do so. The ones who wouldn’t stop emailing and kept on when I asked them to stop or when I told them I wasn’t buying got relegated to spam and ignored.

You have to decide for yourself. However, if you are considering paying for any of these, please research the contest, reviewers, PR person, etc., thoroughly.

Writing Community

It’s bad enough not to win or not to get what you paid for; it’s worse when you’ve paid a lot. BEWARE!

If/when you find groups worth joining, please comment about them here.

Best of luck to you all!

15 reasons I could only give a 2-Star #Review for The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide, 2015

I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide and promised to write and post an honest review here on my own blog and on at lesat one other ebook site (see links, below) in exchange.

Self-publishing Ultimate cover

According to the co-editors, this Guide “is the first and largest collection of curated and verified resources for independent authors who plan to publish their own books. Produced by a team with long experience in both traditional and independent publishing, the over 850 resources are listed in an easy-to-use format that includes live links, phone numbers, email addresses and brief descriptive copy. The Guide makes vendors and other resources easy to find by separating them into 33 distinct categories within the 3 main tasks the self-publisher must deal with. How to Prepare, Publish, and Promote their books.”

15 reasons I could only give a 2-Star #Review for

The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide

PERSONAL NOTE: This Guide already received some excellent endorsements from “heavy-hitters” in the Indie-Publishing industry, several of whom happen to be my unofficial mentors: Mark Coker of Smashwords, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, and Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, to name a few.

I’m daring to add to and not to agree with these experts’ opinions, here. If I were you, I’d also go read theirs! And, please: I’m trying to be constructive, so I give a lot of recommendations and make many pleas. It’s not just a pan.

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to give it 5 stars. I cannot.

The best thing I can say about this is that the editors promise that they want it to be improved and added to quarterly or annually.

I am NOT trying to be snarky or mean. I genuinely went in with high hopes and expectations, given all the hype and positive endorsements this Guide has had. These hopes were dashed in the first few chapters and it did not get better as I went along.

I hope they will take my critique and others’ feedback to make the Guide better, not just longer.

Here are my 15 reasons for giving Guide only 2 stars:

  1. Why isn’t this an actual GUIDE? Why is the Guide almost entirely just a lot of somewhat organized lists?
    Instead of directing, informing, and assisting new indie authors with each selected aspect (and I do like the aspects, or chapters, they decided to include), there is a lot of information not given. This info is either missing, such as the reasons a writer would need to use a section or how to use the information provided, or withheld, such as the providing of a rating system or users’ experiences for each resource—annotations, as in YELP or Angie’s List—for each entry.
    If we wanted to acquire a list of resources, we could do that from many other places.
    The editors say these have been vetted, but where is the evidence of that? What did they assess? Why don’t they include their assessments, or a summary of why each listing is “better” than those not included, and for what, exactly?
    I was very disappointed in the editors’ lack of interaction with each listing provided. They seem to have merely collected a lot of self-written descriptions or blurbs about each entry (meaning, written by each resource provider, not the editors or users) and put the selected listings in alphabetical order.
    Since they say they vetted each entry and rejected some, why aren’t we reading more about WHY they included each entry?
    If I had paid for this “GUIDE,” I’d want a refund.

  2. This book was poorly written and edited. However, the authors’ long, impressive bios (see below) list extensive experiences in editing and proofreading. They also exhort the need for both in this Guide .
    However, even though I wasn’t looking for or expecting to find mistakes, find them I did. There were numerous mistakes in grammar, punctuation and syntax as well as inexcusably sloppy and poor writing in almost every one of their brief intros/summaries for each section/chapter. Finding so many problems was surprising and very disappointing.

  3. The editors mention more than once a warning to readers to “read the fine print” if they choose to enter into contracts, but nowhere do they provide any tips or hints about exactly what to watch out for, what to avoid, what to accept. Why?
    Their advice is so vague as to be trite and useless; without specifics, they’re not helping anyone. Why not a chapter on “Don’ts” or “Beware of…”?
    [It’s as if they started to write a guide and then, halfway through, made it a listing service instead. It makes me wonder if there was some money exchanging hands, ensuring certain listings and keeping out others.
    Is that just my inner cynic talking? There is no evidence of resource providers’ purchasing their listings….]

  4. Why did they not include a chapter on authors’ support networking? There are so many indie authors’ forums, Kindle Boards, authors’ groups, etc.
    If they take my advice and add that chapter, I hope they make notations as to which resources/ groups/ providers are fee-based and which are free, and what the fee ranges are, if applicable, and what the fees avail members of, specifically.
    Fee information is crucial but missing from every chapter.
    Also, I hope they weed out the “review swap” groups, since these violate Amazon’s Terms of Service, and I hope they would EXPLAIN the TOS violation consequences (removal of reviews, for example) in their new chapter.

  5. Why is there a chapter on websites for authors? What makes a website for authors particularly unique vs. a website for bloggers, e.g., or vs. any other small business? This claim of distinction is never explained, yet there is a chapter devoted to a list of people they are supporting who supposedly create websites “for authors.”
    I’m scratching my head over this. If the editors explained their rationale, I might be on board. However, again, no explanations are given.

  6. There is a chapter devoted to Book Reviews with no mention of the extremely important and controversial issue of paid vs. free reviews, and no annotations as to which of those listed charges authors for providing reviews nor how much they charge.
    These omissions are significant oversights. Must correct in future revisions, please.

  7. There are several chapters that are devoted to formatting one’s book—ebooks vs. print vs. Print On Demand vs. “Short Run” [sic]—with no explanation as to the differences among these formats or which to do first and the reasons.
    Also, what about the issue of whether or not even to have a print version: why? when? at what cost? Many of us do not have any print versions: what are the consequences of going ebook-only for each genre?
    Furthermore, when introducing each type of formatting, there is no explanation about the reasons/ bases for ebooks’ formatting issues or the assistance offered, via Smashwords vs. Amazon, for example, or about difficulties of passing through Smashwords‘ “meatgrinder” successfully and what that success generates in benefits; no mention is made of that nor that Digital2Digital does not use such gate-keeping, for example.
    If this is truly going to serve as a guide, MORE ANNOTATIONS and information are needed.

  8. What is a Short Run [sic]? I have never heard of it (since I have no print books, yet) and it was not sufficiently explained (nor hyphenated?). Why include it if not also to explain more completely what it is?

  9. Several key “players” were omitted, which I know can be corrected, but since some of them provided endorsements or reviews, I’m baffled by their absences. Many of those missing are very prominent in the blogosphere, Google+ or Twitter but not so much on Facebook. What about those who shine on Pinterest, Instagram, or Tsu?
    Maybe these editors not as active on the other social media platforms? The Book Marketing Tools and its free ebooks listing tool, e.g., were not included.
    In order to be an actual GUIDE and not just a list, part of this chapter should include annotations giving pros and cons of authors’ activity on each platform and who the leaders are on each.

  10. Social media platforms are the not the only places authors need to “go” or be “seen.” Start with: Blog Talk Radio shows that feature authors and books, like Indie Books with Will Wilson, The Backporch Writer with Kori Miller, and so many more; Google+ LIVE and taped Hangouts on Air, such as my show, CHANGES, which then go to Youtube; D’vorah Lansky’s and others’ teleseminars and webinars devoted to books, book marketing and authors; The Authors Show, A Book and a Chat and many others on their own “channels”; podcasts and other shows, such as The Author Hangout, with Shawn Manaher and R.J. Adams, via iTunes and other sources, and so many more.
    Please request and create a chapter with annotated listings of opportunities of this type and how to access them.

  11. There was no mention of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and the controversies/problems indie authors face regarding this, nor was a distinction made between Kindle Select and Kindle Direct.
    These are exactly the types of explanations missing from this book that need to be put in, please.

  12. Why was there such a small number of “Social Media Consultants” included? I could come up with more than that, yet I am not one myself nor have I used one.
    The editors need to do better outreach, here, and a LOT of annotating, since many who call themselves “experts” are NOT; I know vetting is something these editors say they have been doing, so let’s see the results.

  13. There needs to be more info about money. For example, if the chapter on contests and awards is going to be useful as more then an incomplete list, each entry needs to be annotated to include info on entry fees and deadlines as well as more about the actual value of winning or placing in each.
    These contests can take a lot of time: show us what’s required, specifically, to enter, please, and what we might gain from winning.
    Great to include a chapter on acquiring funding, too, but that also seemed a bit “light.” There are many more opportunities out there, but at least there were several clearinghouses, like C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers, listed.
    Such lacks make this book more of a jumping-off point than a guide, though.

  14. I also don’t understand why those who provide services in more than one area (as delineated by these editors) are not dually or triply listed, as often ought to be the case. Readers/users will find resources only in the chapters they go to skim and may not read other chapters at all.
    For example, Judith Briles is listed for her private site, but Author U is not listed at all, anywhere I could find.
    I know it would make the Guide longer, but there must be a way to show readers that a listing appears elsewhere in the book, or could appear elsewhere (and in what chapters) but editors decided to list each resource only once for space reasons, right?

  15. I do not think Book Promoters are the same as book PR people, but perhaps I’m alone in this. In any case, I think having the word “Promoters” missing from the chapter headings is confusing.

If/when most or all of these omissions, errors and improvements are managed, I’d love to see that version. Or, maybe they should change the title from “Ultimate Resource Guide” to “Resource Compendium” or “Resource Listings.” They’d have fewer changes to make if they did that.

I wouldn’t think that would be as useful, though, as my revised version could be. I hope SOMEONE makes that version!

Meanwhile, although I believe The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide may be worthwhile as a starting point, it is far from being the “Ultimate Resource Guide” at this point.

Any newbie to self-publishing would have to pick up many other and better guides to make this one useful.


On their book’s website, in the FAQs, they state: “We plan to update the ebook edition of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide monthly after the launch, eventually moving to a quarterly update. The print edition will be updated once each year, so we’ll have a new edition reflecting all the changes at the end of 2015.”

Proof? they post this excellent exhortation/invitation on the “CONTACT” page:

The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide is a living document.

Although we have tried to gather the most valuable resources for indie authors, it’s inevitable that some have been missed, and new products and services are constantly being introduced. We want your help to make it even better. If you know of a person, company, product, or service of value to independent authors that’s not included in this guide, please let us know. You can send submissions to be included in the next edition of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by the contact form below. Thank you.

Essential Qualification Guidelines for those who wish to be listed in The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide.

Extensive, professional experience in serving the self-publishing community.
A current, informative, interactive website.
Complete contact information; location (city, state/province, country), phone number, email address, and contact person if applicable.
Outstanding reputation; positive client/customer testimonials and/or reviews.
The final decision on all listings is at the editors’ discretion.

Note: Personal connection or recommendation of resource/business, is meant for anyone who is recommending someone else’s business. Say you are an author and use an editor not listed in the book. You can put that into the submission as your connection (I am an author who uses these services) and recommendation (what you think of the services you receive). It would not apply to someone who is asking for their own company to be included.


For more information: http://www.spresourceguide.com/

Ebook Purchase and Review Links:
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QSKUS2Q/
B&N (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-self-publisherr-joel-friedlander/1120927172?ean=2940150138957
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-self-publisher-s-ultimate-resource-guide
Apple (iBooks): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/self-publishers-ultimate-resource/id950440919?mt=11

The Authors/Editors:

Joel Friedlander
“…is an award-winning book designer and blogger who has been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 from his book design and consulting practice at Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California. Joel is a self-published author and the blogger behind http://TheBookDesigner.com, a popular and award-winning blog on book design, book marketing, and the future of the book. Joel is also the founder of The Self-Publishing Roadmap, a training course for authors, and http://TheBookMakers.com and http://BookDesignTemplates.com, where he provides tools and services for authors who publish their own books. He speaks often at publishing industry events and is a past president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.”

Joel-2014-headshot-300x

Betty Kelly Sargent
“…is the founder of BookWorks, and the founder of The Educated Author, and writes a monthly column on self-publishing for Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the Independent Editors Group (EIG) and has spent more than 30 years in the traditional publishing business, most recently as editor-in-chief of William Morrow, where at one point she had three books on the New York Times best-seller list at once. She has also been executive editor at HarperCollins, executive editor at Delacorte Press, Fiction and Books editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and book reviewer for CNN. She is the author of seven traditionally published books and one self-published book. She moderates panels and workshops in New York City and Los Angeles and is passionate about helping indie authors learn to navigate the ever-changing landscape of self-publishing.”

Betty-photo-1

Copyright © 2015 Marin Bookworks, All rights reserved.

CONTACT:
The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide Editors,
Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent
Marin Bookworks
369-B THIRD STREET #572
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901
editor@spresourceguide.com

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success by Anne R. Allen

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success
by Anne R. Allen

This is an excellent post with pertinent, supportive, specific information for indie writers. Please read the whole article on her blog (link is below).

My favorites of Anne’s 10 points:

#1: Do we really need paper books to be “successful”?
Apparently not: “EVERY SUCCESSFUL INDIE AUTHOR YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS HAS MADE THE BULK OF THEIR INCOME SELLING E-BOOKS.”

ebook sales to 2013

image from: http://blog.nathanbransford.com

#4: Does book “swag” sell books?
Apparently not: “Toys don’t sell books. Word of mouth from readers sells books. Especially word of mouth online, where people can simply click through to a buy page.”

book swag

image from: http://lizcoley.com

and, best of all, #10 (and previous ones relate to this as well):

“So what’s the best way to launch a book in this new publishing world? Nobody really knows. Sometimes books take off and the author doesn’t have a clue why…”

Imagine this next image with a big red line diagonally running through it!

EbookLaunch_guarantee_Badge2

image from: http://ebooklaunch.com

What do I keep reading/hearing, repeatedly, sells more ebooks? QUALITY and QUANTITY, both. Write well and publish a lot!

never quit

Please go to Anne’s site, read and comment/thank her for the rest. Great post, Anne. Thanks!

posted 8/24/14 and STILL HELPFUL every day!
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/08/10-obsolete-beliefs-that-can-block-self.html

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success by Anne R. Allen

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success
by Anne R. Allen

This is an excellent post with pertinent, supportive, specific information for indie writers. Please read the whole article on her blog (link is below).

My favorites of Anne’s 10 points:

#1: Do we really need paper books to be “successful”?
Apparently not: “EVERY SUCCESSFUL INDIE AUTHOR YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS HAS MADE THE BULK OF THEIR INCOME SELLING E-BOOKS.”

ebook sales to 2013

image from: http://blog.nathanbransford.com

#4: Does book “swag” sell books?
Apparently not: “Toys don’t sell books. Word of mouth from readers sells books. Especially word of mouth online, where people can simply click through to a buy page.”

book swag

image from: http://lizcoley.com

and, best of all, #10 (and previous ones relate to this as well):

“So what’s the best way to launch a book in this new publishing world? Nobody really knows. Sometimes books take off and the author doesn’t have a clue why…”

Imagine this next image with a big red line diagonally running through it!

EbookLaunch_guarantee_Badge2

image from: http://ebooklaunch.com

What do I keep reading/hearing, repeatedly, sells more ebooks? QUALITY and QUANTITY, both. Write well and publish a lot!

never quit

Please go to Anne’s site, read and comment/thank her for the rest. Great post, Anne. Thanks!

posted 8/24/14 and STILL HELPFUL every day!
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/08/10-obsolete-beliefs-that-can-block-self.html

Latest #Author #Interview with Sally Ember, Ed.D., on Connie Dunn’s page, goes live TODAY!

Thanks for a fun and great #interview, Connie, conducted/recorded on September 4, 2014, despite numerous technical difficulties!

My interview goes live TODAY, September 29, 2014. We talked about #writing, #science-fiction, The Spanners Series and its #aliens, the Series’ #cover art and Aidana Willowraven as the cover artist,

logoAuthorsDen

my #utopian views, writing in the present tense to emphasize the #multiverse/#paranormal/#psi elements, #science/#research, book #reviews, “crowd creating” and other #collaborations, ghost writing, #series writing, writing across #genres and for multiple audiences/age groups, inspiration/creativity, my writing history (from age 9 on), #editing, #indie publishing and much more.

http://publishwithconnie.com/mondaymorning is the link to Connie’s website. Please visit, look at her books and what she offers to authors!

From there, you can go listen to my interview: http://publishwithconnie.com/teleseminar-dashboard/sally-ember/

My Blogaversary and 1st year of Book Marketing: Report Card

First of all, thanks for financial and technical support to my niece, Sarah Miranda, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann, and my son, Merlyn Ember. Thanks, also, to WordPress.com techhies and Q & A and fora participants.

Second, but equally important, I am grateful to all of my readers, responders, rebloggers, guest bloggers and/or followers for your interest, suggestions, support and interactions. My site would be dead air without you!

On my one-year Anniversary of my Blog, what many call a “Blogaversary,” I am summarizing and analyzing my accomplishments and progress, to date. Let me know what you think!

My Blog Stats

I ended my first full year of blogging with 243 Followers. 208 followers are on WordPress; 35 are on Tumblr.
THANKS, all!

I started with a site that was new and unknown so it wasn’t even rated by ALEXA. I had zero “backlinks.”
Today (8/9/14), I have 128 Backlinks. My ALEXA international rating is 419,061 out of over 4 millions sites.
For the USA, sallyember.com is rated 68,034 out of over 2 million sites.

If you want to check your site’s rankings on ALEXA, get the free extension to your toolbar and check about once every few days by going to your main page/splash page, then clicking on that icon on your toolbar.

I aspire to have a Google Page Ranking: yet to be earned.

followed-blog-200-1x

Total Number of Visitors/Views: 8326

I figured out early on how to cross-post each of my blog entries to my personal/author’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although I mysteriously have to “refresh” this connection periodically, according to prompts from WordPress).

Later, I added Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, BookLikes, and Google+ as well as my Spanners Series page on Facebook as automatic recipient posting sites.

About twice a month, I utilize one of the images in each of my original content entries and put those posts on my Pinterest “My Blog Posts” board, which then automatically cross-posts to Twitter and Facebook, again.

Mostly due to these cross-posting, my Followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads have all increased dramatically. When I started my Blog, I was brand-new to Pinterest, Author Central, and my series’ pages, and mostly inactive on LinkedIn and Goodreads; and had only 7 Twitter Followers. Here are the Blogaversary comparison stats.

FOLLOWERS/LIKES/CIRCLES TALLIES, August 10, 2013 – August 10, 2014
(all links are on the right sidebar of my website)
Twitter 7 to 3441
Pinterest 0 to 208
LinkedIn 200 to 500+ (LI maxes out the count at 500)
Facebook personal 232 to 1438
Facebook Series page 0 to 937
Google+ personal 0 to 1301
Google+ Series page 0 to 29 (not much action, here; can’t get blog to cross-post)
Goodreads author page 110 to 1113
Amazon Author Central page 0 to 142

PAGE/POST VIEWS

My highest-ever number of views in one day was 197, spread around several posts and pages.

Month-by-month Views/Visitors:
Aug, 2013 = 114 (first day was August 10)
Sept. 200
Oct. 307
Nov. 528
Dec. 535
Jan., 2014 = 999
Feb. 1,144
Mar. 740
Apr. 580
(concussion/accident 4/6/14; offline a lot April – June)
May 830
June 872
Jul. 1,161
Aug.(to date) 326

Highest single-day Views = 197

Average Views/Day
for 2013 (5 months): 13
for 2014 (7 months): 30

Blog Posts
200 of my 357 posts (about 40 are reblogs) had 10 or fewer views. These include ALL of the Serialized Excerpts of my sci-fi series, Volumes I and II, most of the reports of these books’ reviews, and many others that I thought were more popular than that.

Freshly Pressed

One of my posts was featured on “Freshly Pressed,” the elite selection gleaned from among all daily blog posts, highlighted for that day in WordPress’ Blog Reader!

Views by Country
Views by visitors from 111 countries
Highest = USA, with 5,909
2nd = UK, with 484
3rd = Canada, with 354
4th = Australia, with 155
5th = Germany, with 128
6th = India, with 125
The rest are 60 or fewer; many are just 1 or 2, so far.

Highest page views were for my site’s main pages:
–ABOUT (my blog’s splash page), with 2,001
–the Home page’s Archives, with 1,703
The Spanners Series page, with 492

For individual posts, the highest number of views were for:
#Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices , with 232
My #Literary #Meh List 2014: 15 Plots, Devices, Characters I’m BORED with, with 205
Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists, with 185
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 160
Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups, with 112
When #Spiritual #Teachers Respond with #Countertransference, with 110

Total number of comments (and half or more are my replies): 202

Setting aside the two posts with the most comments that were part of Blog Hops, the next-most commented-upon post was
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 12

BLOGGING and BOOK MARKETING ASSESSMENTS

I learned a lot about how to assess my book marketing efforts from many people. I excerpt from PROMOTING MY BOOK , by Lee Gale Gruen, with my commentaries as to my progress/use of these ideas and link to Lee and her sites at the end of this section.
(I first saw this article posted in “Funds for Writers,” compiled weekly by the wonderful Hope Clark: http://www.chopeclark.com Thanks, Hope!)

I am therefore scoring myself on Book Marketing for my first two self-published ebooks according to Lee’s great list, below, of marketing tips and ideas. Let’s see what I learned!

Lee recommends these activities, below, and I agree:

  • 1. Read websites and books such as APE by Guy Kawasaki and Michael Kremer’s books. I also join and watch many free webinars, teleseminars, and Google+ Hangouts On Air regularly for more tips.
  • 2. Join writer’s organizations. Learn from your peers. I joined several here in California with great successes. I will be looking for writers’ groups/clubs in St. Louis in September. Any recommendations?
  • 3. Network at writers’ groups, conferences, online forums, etc. I’ve only been to one conference, so far, but may go to more. How are they worthwhile?
  • 4. Check writers’ websites, materials, author talk/book signings. Learn from their examples. I need to more of this but I do follow quite a few writers’ blogs and learn from their posts.

Lee also talks about “creating” one’s own marketing “tools,” and I get an A+, here! I’ve done them all and I hadn’t even seen this list prior to doing them!

  • 1. Have a website to refer interested people. I have that via my blog, http://www.sallyember.com
  • 2. Purchase your website name (domain) immediately. Thanks to my niece, Sarah Miranda, I did this right off! sallyember.com is MINE!
  • 3. Print flyers with your book cover, synopsis, photo, and bio to hand out at events. I have done this and gotten some new readers from it by handing them out at my writers’ groups.
  • 4. Get business cards. I got free ones from KLOUT, at first, then ordered almost-free ones from Vistaprint.com.
  • 5. Compose a cover letter to email to prospects. I have done this for, in my case, book reviewers.
  • 6. Post a video of yourself discussing your book on http://www.YouTube.com. I did this by accident: the Q & A for my Book Launch talk didn’t work, so there is a 2-hour monologue of me on my youtube channel. Also, 2 more vids of me reading chapters from each of my ebooks and book trailers are on that channel. Starting August 6, almost-weekly episodes from CHANGES, my Google+ HOA, are also there.
  • 7. Add an electronic signature to your emails with links to your website and video. I had done this, but then my son said a signature with many links after it is viewed as “spam” and “shouting” at email recipients, so I removed them. What do you think?

Lee’s advice for how to “Promote Yourself” caused me to realize how much I still have to accomplish here. The BOLD ones are TO BE DONE.

  • 1. Sell yourself as well as your book. Develop a useful message other than just “buy my book.” I mostly do this by curating interesting content and creating it on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. I also repost on some sites like Suvudu, StumpleUpon, Reddit, etc. I’ve also joined and interact with folks in a lot of Groups on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn and Communities on Google+
  • 2. Give author talk/book signings.
  • 3. Volunteer to speak at book clubs, speakers’ bureaus, panels, etc. I have volunteered to some book clubs, but no invitations have arrived, yet.
  • 4. Mention your book in conversations using your “elevator speech:” a one-minute synopsis of your book with a hook to grab the listener. I don’t do this as often as I should, but I do it.
  • 5. Ask readers to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If I could find my readers, I would do this more! I wish readers could “opt in” to “author can find me” lists.
  • 6. Submit articles. I’ve been published in my local newspaper and my retirement newsletter. I want to do this.
  • 7. Join HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com) to submit yourself as an interview subject for writers and journalists. I’ve had 6 interviews and will be in an upcoming book. I’ve started my own Google+ Hangout On Air, submitted responses as an Expert on Quora and Ask an Expert, and am considering joining this org, next.
  • 8. Write a blog of interest to your target audience. http://www.sallyember.com is mine. Is it of interest?
  • 9. Look online for similar blogs. Submit guest blogs. Links to my guest posts are on my site. Look to the right and scroll down.

    guest-blogging-image

  • 10. Build an email address list. Email a notice of each appearance, blog, etc. I’ve been slowly building this list, but many commenters or followers don’t provide and I can’t find their email addresses, only Twitter handles or website URLs. How do I get email addresses without paying to get them via a service?
  • 11. Host a book giveaway on http://www.Goodreads.com. Goodreads still doesn’t allow ebook giveaways. SNOBS.
  • 12. Network or search online for professional reviewers. I submitted my book to http://www.midwestbookreview.com for small press publishers. I only do this when there is no fee. I refuse to pay for book reviews.

BIO: Lee Gale Gruen is an actress, author, speaker, and blogger. Her book website is: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com. Her blog, “Reinventing Myself in My Senior Years” is at: http://LeeGaleGruen.Wordpress.com

My Overall Grade/Score for Year One in Blogging and Book Marketing

Well, I give myself an A+ for effort
I earned about a B- for effectiveness, I think (but it’s difficult to make comparisons since I don’t have others’ stats nor know their efforts).

If I’m going by the numbers of books sold (Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, just went on sale June 9) or sold and downloaded since Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, went permafree on April 1 and went on sale December 19, 2013, the dates don’t jibe and the numbers won’t be impressive (to me, anyway). We all have Hugh Howey to thank for that, right?

Plus, even though I can get rankings or paid sales stats from some sites, I can’t get sales or free download numbers from all sites. So, the numbers below are not all-inclusive; they’re just what I can get. Here are the stats for book sales and downloads:

12/19/13 – 3/31/14 Sales and 4/1/14 –> Free downloads for
Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything
66 books sold
2296 free downloads
(about 40 for reviewers)

6/9/14 –> Sales for
Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever
4 sales
4 free downloads
(all for reviewers)

I look forward to becoming more “visible” via this and other parts of my “author platform” in my second year blogging and being a fiction author.

Please comment and share your experiences! Best to you all!

RT and SHARE! TODAY! July 14 = “Digital Book Day”

From CJ Lyons of No Rules, Just WRITE!, http://www.norulesjustwrite.com/:

“If you’re as sick of hearing about the industry woes as I am, then here’s a chance to celebrate our readers (and maybe get some new ones!)

DBDsquare-300x300

“I’m declaring Monday, July 14th Digital Book Day!”
(that’s also Bastille Day, btw!)

[I included This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, ’cause it’s PERMAFREE!–Sally Ember]

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

cover art by Aidana Willowraven.

Come to http://www.digitalbookday.com TODAY, July 14th to grab your book and others.

“CJ Lyons”

“PS: please, please share this with any review site/blog/book club/writers group that you know!”

Today is the day! http://www.digitalbookday.com
Go get some new *free ebooks*! Find some new #ebook #authors! Start with me/mine: be patient and keep trying! Site is very busy!

10 Ways to Celebrate #Indie #Authors

Re-posting this to keep supporting the Blog Hop sponsored by Julie’s Book Reviews! #Rafflecopter Give-Away info at the end of this post!

So many #Indie #Authors, so little time! However, WE Indies deserve and need your attention for all our hard work!

Celebrate Indie Authors July 6 posting 2014

Please take a few minutes, maybe every day during these LET’S CELEBRATE INDIE AUTHORS event days’ blog hop, organized by Julie’s Book Reviews, hosted here: http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/, July 1 – 14.

AND please do one or more of these supportive actions:

  • 1) Visit, comment, follow, subscribe to the author’s website/blog.
    Here are mine: http://www.sallyember.com and http://sallyember.tumblr.com

  • 2) Go to the author’s books’ sites and CLICK to them on your Wish Lists or download them or buy them on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s nook, Smashwords, other sites that sell ebooks and print books by Indie Authors. All of my books’ links are available to the right of this post and on my main website (if you’re not there, now).

  • 3) LIKE/1+/become a Follower (“Friend” or “Fan” the author’s and/or book’s or series’ pages) on Facebook, Google+, Amazon, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Shelfari, etc.
    Most authors’ websites, like mine, have places for you to link to, click on, or do this right there, or the sites’ links will take you there. Add our books to your “shelves” such as “to read” or “currently reading” and post about them on your social media sites: “I’m reading…. by….” is a great Tweet! So is “I just bought/downloaded… by …..!”

    BTW: if the author’s site has a “Tip Jar” or “Donate” button, especially when s/he has offered free books/ebooks or other content, please consider leaving a donation, however small. Much appreciated!

  • 4) Leave comments, reviews, rankings, ratings!
    Vote our books UP on Listmania lists on Amazon, Listopia lists on Goodreads, Booklikes’ lists: EVERYWHERE you can help us shine, please do! You can find what lists a book is on by scrolling down on its book page on that site.

  • 5) Admire and comment on our series’ logo and/or cover art.
    Visit the cover artist’s page and comment (if you know who it is). Aidana Willowraven is mine, and she ROCKS!

    logoAuthorsDen

    This Changes Everything cover
    Now PERMAFREE everywhere ebooks are sold!

    final cover print
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC @$3.99
    The Spanners Series logo and cover art by Aidana Willowraven

  • 6) If we Indie Authors post excerpts, read, comment on, review, “Shelve,” “Like” them.
    Join free sites to do this, such as Wattpad, Authonomy, Bublish, many other sites. Some, like me, post excerpts on our own websites or Facebook, G+ or other sites. Go on a hunt by author’s name/pen name and become a critiquer/beta reader/fan!

  • 7) Whether or not you’re a blogger or “professional,” you can become a reader/reviewer by commenting, rating, reviewing every Indie book you read, whether it’s from a library or your own download. We LOVE seeing what you think as long as it’s fair and honest, of course. Please give reasons, even if you LOVE the book. Also, even if you don’t become a reviewer, you can read and LIKE/vote up others’ reviews.

    bookreviews_logo

  • 8) If you are also a writer, join a writers’/authors’ support network, such as an online group or social media boosting group on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads, Booklikes, Kindleboards or blog/site OR (shocking, I know), attend an in-person support, critique, sharing group via your local library, your state/regional writers’ clubs, MeetUp: SO MANY! You can do more than one!
    Shout out from me to Clean Indie Reads, Rave Reviews Book Club, Enovel Authors At Work, lots more.

  • 9) Talk Indie Authors up!
    Tell your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, gym or walking buddies, dog walkers, babysitters, postal carries–EVERYWHERE, EVERYONE–about your favorite, most recent or all-time beloved Indie Author! End every text, phone call, party, visit or work day with some comment about an ebook or print book you recommend. Inspire more readers!

  • 10) Join/participate in Indie Authors’ Blog Hops, Facebook or Google Hangout Events (Cover Reveals, Launch Parties, Events of many types, such as THIS ONE).
    Enter to win prizes, receive giveaways (such as a $5 Amazon Gift Card from MY site!) and make connections/friends!

    Click on THIS Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thanks for your celebrating and supporting Indie Authors today and every day! Share!

How to STUPENDIFY my #Ebook’s Release with a Virtual Book Tour

Thanks to Dvorah Lasky and many others, especially Nina Amir and her Virtual Book Tour advice and tips, I am better prepared than ever to release my next ebook in The Spanners Series, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, 6/9/14.

Buy links, reviews, interviews, excerpts, more: http://www.sallyember.com

Thanks, all, in the Book Marketing Challenge 2014! Great month of activities, events, blogs, webinars, teleseminars and more. Much appreciated.

Today, 6/7/14, we culminate this month of learning and sharing among #authors by asking you to visit each of the sites in our Blog Hop and learn more!

blog-hop-150x150 BMC 2014

Here is Nina’s checklist, in case you were wondering:

Virtual Book Tour Checklist

Before you begin your virtual book tour, be sure you have everything in place to ensure your appearances build your mailing list as well as sell books. Here’s a checklist you might find useful:

  1. Place the cover of your book and the links to the online bookstores where it can be purchased in a prominent location on your website.
  2. Create a free product, eBook, report, or autoresponder series.
  3. Sign up for an email service.
  4. Create an email subscription form that promotes your free product.
  5. Get the URL of your email subscription form from your email service provider.
  6. Place your form on your blog or website (or both).
  7. Create a page (or pages) on your website to offer a free downloadable gift only redeemable after filling out an email form.
  8. Create a teleseminar, webinar, or social media event related to your book.
  9. Find strategic partners who might be willing to promote your event to their list or joint venture with you in other ways.

Nina also offers 5 ways to build one’s email list during this virtual tour. Read more of her posts, get her books, learn from her experience: http://ninaamir.com/

For a complete list of articles and experts gathered for this great month: http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/author/dvorah/

However, this author is behind the curve and hasn’t set up to capture followers’ emails, yet. WILL DO SOON!

Best to all you #authors! Check out the other blogs on this HOP (partial list below):

Destinations on the Blog Hop Trail

Hop 1: Sara F. Hathaway: Survival in The Changing Earth’s Book Publishing World
Hop 2: Connie Dunn: Blog Hop Fun
Hop 3: Astrid Nicholls: The Book Marketing Challenge: An Important Lesson
Hop 4: Anne Lorene Tezon: Baby, We’ve Just Birthed a Book Business!
Hop 5: Gina Briganti: Welcome, Book Marketing Challenge Blog Hoppers!
Hop 6: Peggy M McAloon: A Concise and Proven Book Marketing Plan
Hop 7: Donna Winters: Goodreads for Authors
Hop 8: Moreen Torpy: Organizing a Book Marketing Project
Hop 9: Pam Fitros: 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge – A Literary Antipasto
Hop 10: J.Q. Rose: Time to Celebrate at the Book Marketing Blog Hop
Hop 11: Roxanne Smolen: Marketing Equals Visibility
Hop 12: Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.: Lifestyle Transformation with the Help of Author Ecosystem
Hop 13: Marilynn Dawson: Blog Hop Stop Wrapping up The Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 14: Desiree Cox: Write it and They Will Come, Right?
Hop 15: Kateryna Kei: The Book Marketing Challenge: a Lucky Coincidence for Authors 😉
Hop 16: Gloria Oren: I did it! I complelted the 30 day Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 17: Loretta Alvarado: Facebook Fanpage First Friday Artwalk
Hop 18: Hayley Clarke: ‘Bribe’ Idea’s That can be Used to Build an Email List
Hop 19: Kate Loving Shenk: The Book Challenge is a Rewire
Hop 20: Patti Tingen: I Have a Plan
Hop 21: Renee Alter: A Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 22: L. Shoshana Rhodes: The 30-Day Book Marketing All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!
Hop 23: Kim Miller: Why You Should Blog (It’s Not Just About Marketing!)

#TheAuthorsShow #Interview with Sci-Fi Author, #SallyEmber: April 1 ONLY!

Tune in any time today (24 hours) for AuthorsShowLogo299F-250x160 #TheAuthorsShow #Interview with #SallyEmber by Don McCauley.

Use the link, below, to go to the ON AIR list. The list is near the bottom, center, of the site.

Choose “This Changes Everything, Sally Ember” on their list of Author Interviews(don’t go to YouTube since this is just an audio, not video interview).

Click on the title, then click the arrow (PLAY) on the website’s player. It’s about 15 minutes long.

SHARE! Thanks.

http://www.TheAuthorsShow.com

Reblogging: “10 Tools to Make Your Social Media Management Easier” by Andrew Jenkins

“Execnote” “Nimble” “Commun.it” “Pocket”

If these sound like foreign terms, you’re not alone. Indie authors and many others doing our own marketing and outreach are inundated with tasks, content, tweets, posts, blogs, podcasts and videos until we’re ready to explode.

We have to get our social media to be more manageable, don’t we?

Let Andrew Jenkins explain and provide reasons for you to learn about and start using these social media management tools!

Thanks, Andrew!

Social media icons\

http://arcompany.co/10-tools-to-make-your-social-media-management-easier/

SUPPORT-INDIE-ART

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14!

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READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14! Please consider including MORE #EBOOKS in your library!

RAEW 2 girlreading

KS67Q is the coupon code for 50% off through March 9, 2014, for my first ebook, a sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian series, Volume I, This Changes Everything, usually $3.99. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes Everything cover

is from The Spanners Series, which is for adults, NA and YA,

logoAuthorsDen

and prepares you for the more YA/NA Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, coming out in June! Thanks!

Many other deals for free or very discounted ebooks all week. https://www.smashwords.com/ebookweek

RAEWbanner1

http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists

Thanks to Mark Coker, Founder/CEO of #Smashwords, #indie #authors have lots of information in FREE slide shows and several webinars to help indie ebook authors succeed in self-publishing.

Mark provided excellent instructions, tips and support for my first ebook’s publication last fall, the sci-fi/romance which has been getting great reviews, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, including persuading me to engage in a “Pre-order” period prior to full sales release.

In his post (link to full post, below), Mark defines Pre-orders:
preorder defn

Mark gives great info on how to schedule a Pre-Order, here:
preorder timing

Furthermore, he details the benefits of Pre-Orders for Authors and Readers:
preorders 5 benefits 1

A great realist, Mark also provided great info as to what to expect, a “Reality Check”:
preorder reality check

So, how did my first experience with pre-orders go?
Not so well.

Let’s review the Tips Mark provided and my own experiences:

Tip One: Plan and implement AGGRESSIVE, multi-week marketing campaign
This was my first time as any kind of book marketer, but luckily (?), I was laid off in August, 2013, which gave me family support (thanks, Ellen Fleischmann, Merlyn Ember, Sarah Miranda, Lauri Stern and Carole Harris) to move my unpublished book forward into self-publication. I began immediately to learn, via Mark Coker’s and others’ Google Hangouts, free webinars, blog posts, groups’ posts and articles, all about the publication and marketing processes for indie authors.

I did it ALL, except pay for PR (no extra funds): I started a new website and blog; I became active on Goodreads and Twitter; I opened Pinterest Boards; I became more active on Facebook, both on my personal and Series pages; I became more active on LinkedIn; I joined Google+ and began to use it more. I joined many Groups/Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as Goodreads. I engaged a professional cover artist (thanks, Willowraven!) and started tracking my KLOUT, SNAP and ALEXA scores.

I had OUTSTANDING results (I thought) in the first few months, bringing my KLOUT score from 31 to 61 by release day (12/19/13) and my website went from no ranking at all to being in the top 3.5 million via ALEXA. I gave up on Snap. My Twitter #FF went from 7 to over 1600; my blog gained almost 40 #FF (NOT my family, either!). I had almost 300 LIKES on my FB Series page and over 300 contacts personally there and on LinkedIn and Goodreads. 60 were #FF on Pinterest. Seemed good, to me.

I also worked hard networking on Wattpad, Goodreads, and Authonomy as well as the above groups and individuals’ websites to garner several very positive pre-sales day reviews which were posted on/into my front matter, my website, Goodreads and all other social media.

I joined Shelfari and BookLikes, Authors’ Database and other sites with author and then book pages. I created and updated my Author’s book page on Amazon (which doesn’t do Pre-orders, but I already had a nonfiction book authorship, so I could do this prior to uploading my ebook). I provided copy for and linked to postings of several author interviews on several websites and BlogTalkRadio’s IndieBooks show. I gave public readings and then videoed myself doing them and posted these on youtube, to start my Series’ Channel.

Using the Cover, I printed up 50 flyers (second time I spent money on this endeavor, first being the cover) and gave them out everywhere I went (which wasn’t many places, but I tried!).

This Changes Everything cover
cover and logo art by Willowraven

I talked it up everywhere I went, also. I sent out FB and GR reminders of the release date and planned an Author Q & A on Google Hangout and Goodreads for release day as an “EVENT,” which I extensively promoted, along with the pre-orders themselves, for weeks prior to sales date.

I believe I did everything I could to create a strong “Author Platform.” But, being a new author to sci-fi/romance and to ebooks, and an indie, self-published author in a very crowded field, the “splash” I was making, despite KLOUT’s encouraging stats, was not feeling large.

Social media icons
from http://www.bakerviewconsulting.com

Furthermore, I had no way to gauge the success of either my Pre-order marketing via the numbers of Pre-orders, because Smashwords, iBooks, KOBO and nook do not provide ANY kind of info as to the numbers of Pre-orders accumulating to authors, EVER. This is very frustrating and I wish this would change.

It is now two months since TCE’s release date, and I still have no figures, other than ranks on nook and KOBO, to tell me how many actual sales TCE has had.

Smashwords does provide “sales” numbers, but mixes “free” or coupon-use downloads with cash sales. This is mixing apples and oranges since my ebook is only free to reviewers and a select few others. Even with a cash total, this is a net profit figure, not a gross sales total: I have to do the math myself to estimate actual cash sales numbers, something else I wish would change.

iBooks sets up threshold before it puts out even a ranking that my ebook hasn’t met up to now (and neither the gate nor my sales number is known, which is frustrating; also needs to change).

As a regular Kindle (KDP), not Kindle Select, author, I did not have the option to do Pre-orders on Amazon, but at least I can check in on any day, any hour and get not only several different sales and author relative ranks, but go look at my actual sales figures online, including total sales, gross cash intake and net royalties. Yeah, Amazon!

Going solely by Amazon’s and Smashwords’ sales figures (the only ones I have), my Pre-Order and regular sales periods have not yet been huge successes, to say the least. I just got my first royalty checks, from Amazon (since Smashwords only pays quarterly and includes all the other vendors in one check). The total would not even pay for one tank of gas.

BUT, I am now a professional, paid ebook author, nonetheless! Woohoo!

My Recommendations: Every book sales site should provide real-time and accumulated stats to authors during Pre-orders as well as regular sales updates if not hourly, then daily, with no “qualifying” threshold to become eligible to see stats. AND, please do not mix free downloads with paid sales in the figures.

Tip Two: Mobilize fans
I tried to first gather fans (see above) and then mobilize them. However, as a first-time ebook author with no other fiction sales before this, my “fan base” is minimal even now, two months later, and nonexistent prior to Pre-orders. So, great tip, but I couldn’t use it for TCE.

I plan to use my growing fan base extensively for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, however, which goes into Pre-Orders in April 15-18 (because of policies and schedules not in Smashwords’ control, other ebook vendor sites do not open Pre-orders on the same days as each other) and on sale June 9, 2014.

Tip Three: Special pricing
I took Mark’s advice about pricing all the way. He suggested lower prices or free for Pre-orders, but strongly suggested NOT offering it free if the ebook has no others before it in the Series.

Mark also suggested, based on his extensive research, the “sweet spot” balancing sales with profits for ebooks, currently is set at $3.99.

So, I set TCE’s Pre-Order price at $1.99.
The sales price for TCE has been $3.99 and will stay that way until Volume II goes into Pre-orders, 4/15/14, at which point Volumes I and II will both be set at $1.99.

On Volume II’s release date, 6/9/14, TCMF&MLF will go up to $3.99 and Volume I will become FREE forever more, to all, as recommended for series authors.

When The Spanners Series ebooks start selling well and my fan base has grown even more, I will bump up Volume II’s price to $5.99 during Volume III’s Pre-order period, November – December, 2014, making This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change, Volume III’s Pre-order price $2.99.

Volume III’s sales price, starting in mid-December, 2014, will then probably be $5.99.

If sales aren’t great (YET), I’ll follow my previous pricing plan for a while longer for upcoming Volumes (the series has 10, total).

I do not believe the exact pricing made that much difference, but I really can’t tell. I also don’t know about the switch from Pre-order’s lower price to the higher sales price regarding sales impact. See Tip One: I don’t know, yet, about any sales figures, except on Smashwords, for Pre-orders, and those were not strong the first time, an understatement.

Tip Four: Use your other books to help
Wish I could. Will do for Volumes II onward. Good tip!

Tip Five: (MY TIP): Do it better each time
Yes, I plan to do it all better, as mentioned above.

CHANGES and IMPROVEMENTS:
1) I’m doing more about getting Beta readers for Volume II.

2) I’m turning reviewers for Volume I into reviewers for Volume II. I have more fans, I am involved in several networks of authors and others that help with promoting each others’ social media sites.

3) I now have 3 Book Trailers ( which I created myself, free, via Animoto) so that my youtube Spanners Series Channel GROWS. Each time I released a Book Trailer, my sales went UP on Amazon. Don’t know about the other sites, but my ranks did go up slightly.

4) I now have 50 more flyers and first, via KLOUT, free business cards via MOO, and when those ran out, got inexpensive ones via Vistaprint which I designed. They have my links, TCE book cover and Series logo on them. I give them out EVERYWHERE.

5) I joined and attend workshops with several local writers’ groups.

6) I comment on and re-blog/re-post others’ blog posts instead of always writing my own

7) I use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Quora, AllExperts.com and other sites to raise the visibility of my “brand” and drive traffic to my website (via WordPress.com). My website now has over 120 #FF, which I know is still small, but it’s a 300% increase since launch date 2 months ago!

8) I set up cross-posting and opened a Tumblr website that receives all posts from my WordPress blog, so my blog posts are re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes and Amazon.

9) I use JustUnfollow to keep my Twitter #FF useful, active and not ‘bots. Now up over 2300!

10) I continue to use author networks to share and collaborate for increasing each other’s visibility, rankings and comments. All of my numbers are fairly high and staying there on the book and author sites mostly due to these efforts.

So, with all the above, I am READY for the next Pre-order period much more than I was before. I hope this one ROCKS!

Links to TCE’s Reviews, Author Interviews, Book Trailers and more on http://www.sallyember.com

Link to Mark Coker’s full Pre-order Slide Show post here, which is well worth viewing: take notes! Please share, tweet, USE!
http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/hit-the-ebook-bestseller-lists-with-preorders-a-guide-to-preorder-strategy

Thanks, Mark. Next time, I’m ALL OVER IT!

#Smashwords vs. #Amazon for #Indie #Authors #ebook #epub: Pros and Cons

Roger Gerald Scott, co-founder of the “Authors Helping Authors” site, posted an article detailing his views on the pros and cons of Smashwords vs. Amazon for Indie Authors considering ebook publishing. I left the following lengthy comment with my differing views, below,but it was not approved. The moderators believed it was too negative and called it derogatory, which certainly were not my intentions. They also claim I do not have the authority to link to his article, which mystifies me, since anyone can link to anything, any time. However, the moderator sent me several lengthy emails endeavoring to explain her/their position, for which I am grateful, but also saying they would “block” my links.

So, if the link does work, just copy and paste it into your own browser. I think Roger’s article was confusing and misleading, so I am continuing to post my corrections, explanations and comments, here, not to put him down but to inform any other new self-pub authors.

First, I link to his article, then post my comments here. Let me know what you think!

http://authorshelpingauthors.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/the-differences-between-amazon-and-smashwords-by-roger-gerald-scott/comment-page-1/#comment-1257

publishing-logos

I have two corrections to the above article, which is very helpful and factual, otherwise. As an author who has published her ebook for the first time on first Smashwords and then, immediately on Amazon, I am uniquely qualified to speak to the “differences” and “similarities.”

I prefer to start with Smashwords and then upload to Amazon. Here are my corrections/clarifications to Roger’s article and the reasons for my preference, below.

1) First correction/clarification: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is not the same as Kindle Select on Amazon. The first is their regular, free, UNRESTRICTED upload available to any author, any time, regardless of wherever else this ebook appears/is distributed. There is no problem having my ebook distributed on and via Smashwords AND available on Amazon via KDP, which is the route I chose.

Kindle Select, on the other hand, DOES have the restricted distribution rules listed in the above article (which is the main reason I did not use it).

2) Second correction: I did all my own formatting. While it was tedious, it was NOT difficult. I literally went through the Smashwords guide page by page and did it all myself. My ebook (which is sci-fi, 323 pages or thereabouts) went through the Smashwords “meatgrinder” with no problems, first time through. I don’t know why so many people have trouble; they must not follow the directions.

If an author really can’t follow directions (which begs the question how this person can be an author), there are people Smashwords keeps a list of and provides the list to anyone who asks for it who will format your ebook for you.

***HOWEVER, some of the formatters advertising who are NOT on Smashwords’ approved list are NOT worth hiring. Buyer beware. Many scams.

And, none of the formatters is an editor/proofreader. Still have to do that/get that done separately.

proofread

3) Furthermore, since Smashwords’ formatting requirements are the most stringent, once my ebook was ready for SW, it is was easily uploaded to Amazon and went through without issue.

Further benefits to using Smashwords:

a) Smashwords provides every format free to the author after the ebook is accepted. I downloaded them all and can send them out via email any time I want. During my pre-order period, this is the way my ebook got to reviewers. All formats means including Kindle’s .mobi, so I had Kindle versions before I uploaded to Amazon.

b) Once I had all the formats provided by Smashwords, I am able to provide coupons at any discount I want, up to and including free, to any individuals I choose, any time, for a period I can select in advance and then also change. I can have more than one coupon active at the same time.

c) This means my pricing is steady across all formats and distribution sites, which forces Amazon to keep my pricing at the price I chose, but that I can provide my ebook free or at a discount any time to anyone via Smashwords and Amazon is none the wiser. The stated price is still the same as on Amazon and elsewhere.

d) Smashwords, like Amazon, provides many author features including one place for reviews, an author page, and “extras.” Nook, Kobo, iBooks and other sites do not have these options. Once I had materials for one site it was easy to upload them to the other, although, for some weird reason, Amazon uses a third party site, Shelfari, for uploading most of the extras.

e) Mark Coker, the owner/founder of Smashwords, provides many FREE webinars, data, fora and help via his staff and himself, that are critically important and useful, especially to new authors of ebooks and new indie authors of any format. I highly recommend that every author view all of these webinars prior to publishing (at least 5 months prior is best) so you can market your ebooks well and use all features available.

f) Smashwords provides a URL with the author’s name in it AT NO CHARGE rather than Amazon’s silly numbering system.

I dislike both Amazon’s and Smashwords’ renumbering the books for the book pages’ URLs; it’s cumbersome to have 2 ID numbers for the same book and completely unnecessary.

Overall, I recommend doing ebook publishing first via Smashwords so that the author can have a pre-order period and build up sales (which all “count” on release day, helping boost rankings) and then on or after release on Smashwords, publish via Amazon KDP (not Kindle Select). This covers ALL the bases very well for indie authors.

I hope this helps everyone. Best to you all. Links below.

Sally Ember, Ed.D., with author pages on:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a1002726320/Sally-Ember-Ed-D-/books
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyEmber

and book pages:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 (USA only)
and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8?tag=viewbookat0e-20 (for all countries)
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-changes-everything-sally-ember-edd/1117444256?ean=2940045417921
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-changes-everything-3
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/this-changes-everything/id746840776?mt=11&ls=1
Also on Diesel, Flipkart, Oyster and several others via Smashwords agreements.

This Changes Everything cover
cover art by Willowraven.

My website: http://www.sallyember.com Visit! Welcome! Comment!

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, favoring the #indie authors! Full explanation and more data in article linked, below.

A few more excerpts, paraphrased for Twitter, just to whet your appetite!

86% of top 2,500 genre fiction bestsellers + 92% of Top-100 best-selling books in overall Amazon store are e-books!

Indie authors outnumber trad pub authors in every earnings bracket but one. Even extreme outliers do better w/self-pub.

Self-pub authors make 50% more profit than trad pub, even though indie books represent only half of the gross sales revenue.

“Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.”

“When given a choice, readers will buy books other than those vetted by [the New York Times]. The Kindle bestseller lists prove this.”

Self-Publishing
image from http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com

Advice self-pub author, Hugh Howey (article author), gave publishers three years ago, when the Big 5 were still the Big 6. Did they follow it? What do YOU think? (From the same article):

“Publishers should stop trying to convince themselves and others that they’re relevant, and start actually being relevant. Here’s how:
1. Offer much better royalties to authors.
2. Release titles faster. It can take 18 months after a book is turned in to be published. I can do it myself in a week.
3. Use up-to-date accounting methods that are trackable by the author, and pay royalties monthly.
4. Lower ebook prices.
5. Stop futilely fighting piracy. Hint: all such fighting is futile. Piracy can only be made redundant with cost and convenience.
6. Start marketing effectively. Ads and catalog copy aren’t enough. Neither is your imprint’s Twitter feed. Especially if your author has more Twitter followers than you do.”

Link to article I’m referencing, here:
http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/me-hugh-howey-and-legacy-john-on.html

Are you an author (either or both trad and indie/self-pub)? DO THIS!
“The authorearnings.com website is now up and running again. Even if you’ve read the info here, I encourage everyone to visit http://authorearnings.com and take the Author Survey and sign the Petition.”

Thanks, Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey!

If you’d just like to read Hugh’s report without the Q & A and conversation with Joe (less entertaining, but shorter), here is the link:

http://authorearnings.com/the-report/

“Finishing the Hat” or, in my case, another #eBook

Am I the only author who is reluctant to finish a book? In Stephen Sondheim’s depiction of Georges Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George, his song, Finishing the Hat, eloquently and poignantly describes this exact chiaroscuro-type emotional state.

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/sundayintheparkwithgeorge/finishingthehat.htm

We artists, writers, creators enter and create “the world of the hat” “where there never was a hat” and then have to leave it (temporarily, and then, forever, in the case of a series of novels or works). I feel both proud and sad, both happy and relieved, both excited and frightened to go forward.

Going forward: beta readers, feedback, critiques, discussions, defenses, relinquishments. Then, editing, revising, altering my “hat” into its final formatted form for ebook publication on Smashwords. Next, reviews, rankings, more feedback, more critiques. Finally, publication/release. Endless marketing and attempts to increase readership/visibility, all along.

Writing is the best part. I hate to end it.

I am dragging my literary feet; I have had an unfinished near-the-end chapter of This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II of The Spanners Series, for two weeks. Well, I was away and “couldn’t write” for a week (really?). Home for two days and still couldn’t make myself finish it.

Until a few hours after I drafted this post, yesterday afternoon: finished and sent off my draft to two beta readers.

Writing this post helped make the finishing occur, somehow. I explained and confessed my hesitation to complete my work. Then, I had no more excuses or barriers.

The hat must be finished.

top-hat

I am already thinking frequently about Volume III (the next hat), This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change.

5-month Blogaversary this Week: Stats & Questions

This week marks my 90th Post and my 5-month Blogaversary. I appreciate greatly how authors, artists, writers, editors and many creative people join together to help increase one another’s reach and visibility on FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Booklikes, Shelfari and increasingly, on Google+.

Here are my end-of-first-five-months’ stats and questions (mostly for other authors). Please leave responses to mine or add your own questions in the comments section on the WordPress or Tumblr blog post site. (You will have to sign in via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or your own WP or Tumblr account on these sites to comment.)

First, many thanks for the support and receptivity: on WordPress, my blog now has 50 followers (MY GOAL for 1/1/14!) and 12 on my Tumblr site (which has all cross-posts from the WP site), for a grand and wonderful total of 62 #FF who receive (and an unknown number who read) my posts.

I’m inviting guest bloggers this year.
QUESTION: Would you like to guest blog? (I am restricting guest blogging [for now] to followers of my blogs on WP or Tumblr: good reason to become a follower!)
Please let me know when and on what topic(s).
Topics on which I welcome guest posts: Buddhism, meditation, yoga, meditation retreats, having a spiritual teacher, the influence of your spiritual practice on your writing; writing, publishing, marketing our writing; or, any of the many topics I have already blogged about (read my past posts for hints!).

sallyember.com has gone from being “invisible” (no ranking at all) via ALEXA (Google’s ranking system) to being in the top 3.5 million websites worldwide in only five months.
QUESTION: How much does an ALEXA ranking mean, and what is your site ranked?

Concurrently, Twitter followers have grown from 7 in August to over 1700 this week (almost reached my randomly set goal of 2000 #FF by 1/1/14). @sallyemberedd finds me there. Special thanks to #ASMSG, the World Literary Cafe @worldlitcafe and Keith Fritz’ Author Megasheet on Google for such great contacts and networking opportunities which help build visibility and connections on Twitter. Due to cross-posting via Facebook, Pinterest and my blog, I don’t always post directly on Twitter, but I do have an active presence there.
QUESTION: How much do Twitter followers actually read further/click on Tweets’ links and which ones appeal most to you?

Also, my original Spanners Series page on Facebook now has over 450 LIKES (my modest goal for 1/1/14 was 200!) with many “LIKE for LIKE” events hosted on FB and contacts via Facebook groups, such as the Science-Fiction/Romance Brigade, the World Literary Cafe, Clean Indie Reads, Authors Social Media Support and many others, to offer THANKS for this amazing rise in connections on FB in recent weeks (at the beginning of December, my series page had fewer than 200 LIKES). I also have a lot more “friends” (as Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember) via these same networks and groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism.
Question: What impact do FB LIKES have on an author’s visibility, in your opinion? If you are an author and your LIKES have risen lately, how exactly have you experienced a change in sales, interactions, or network invitations that you can attribute to this increase?

I am fairly new to having a series page on Google+ (3 weeks), so my Spanners Series page there only has 9 #FF. But, I (as Sally Sue Ember) have joined many groups and hope to increase the number of people in my circles and who follow the series page by connecting and networking more via these opportunities as well. Groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism are my main ones here, too.
QUESTION: How do you use Google+ and what is your opinion of it?

On youtube, I now have 3 videos of me reading from or talking about The Spanners Series and particularly Volume I, This Changes Everything (about one/month) since October, 2013, but only a handful of viewers, so far.
QUESTION: If you are an author, do you have a book trailer or other writing-related videos on youtube? How successful has your video presence been for driving traffic to your books’ sites, for sales, for views?

Again, partly thanks to networking and support via #ASMSG, on Goodreads, This Changes Everything is getting 4- and 5-star reviews and ratings and moving up on many lists on Listopia. As a member of only about 12 months, my “friends” number has grown to over 650. I also joined some groups here as well.
QUESTION: How do you use Goodreads as a reader? What about as an author?

Since the release date (12/19/13) of This Changes Everything, the first ebook in the The Spanners Series, TCE has been moving erratically but promisingly through the sales rankings on Amazon, Kobo, Nook and Smashwords (don’t have rankings, yet, on iBooks). Many more reviewers are about to post their reviews over the next several weeks, which will help spread the word even more.

Examples: on Amazon, TCE has risen into the top 58,000 (out of 8 million) books on Amazon, and my author rank (so far) has risen to 89,000 (out of over 500,000).
On Kobo, TCE has moved up over 2000 other books in all Fiction and over 300 other books in Romance, Paranormal (through a mix-up, it’s not in Sci-fi, where it belongs) since it’s release date.
On nook, TCE has been in the top 500,000 overall (out of over 2 million books).
QUESTION: If you have published and sell ebooks in the last 12 months, what advice would you give to new ebook authors about these types of stats?

TCE is also on Shelfari, Booklikes and several independent sites (sites that post ebooks, reviews, author interviews and stories about indie books/authors). On http://www.sallyember.com, on the right of each page. Scroll down for live links.
QUESTION: What alternative sites feature you or your writing? What are your experiences with these? Do you do “blog hops,” “cover reveals,” cross-posting of other types? Advice?

The eleven Boards I have on Pinterest which I add to frequently, relate to my writing, the series, authors and music, locations and information connected to the series and my life. Started with NO followers in September; now have almost 70. sallyember is my Pinterest address (button to this on my website).
QUESTION: How do you use Pinterest? Experiences?

Through all these and other efforts and, again, much support from friends, family and colleagues/network members, including on LinkedIn, my KLOUT score has risen to over 61 (anything over 50 is considered good; over 65 is considered excellent).
QUESTION: What is your KLOUT score? How important do you think this ranking is for a new author?

I recently joined some LinkedIn groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism. Since I’m so new to these (less than 1 month’s membership in most), not sure of the impact, yet.
QUESTION: What LinkedIn groups do you belong to/recommend and why?

Enough for now. Thanks for reading, responding, explaining, advising, recommending, warning, sharing. Best to you all!

Author Interview Blog Talk Radio 12/27: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Maybe you’re able to be near an online source to listen to Sally Ember, Ed.D., sci-fi/romance ebook author, talk about her newly released ebook, series, writing, and more on Friday, 12/27, 11 AM EST. Spread the word! One-hour live call-in/comment online show.

Listen live or archived. Sally Ember, Ed.D. will be interviewed by Will Wilson on Indie Books, Blog Talk Radio’s weekly indie author spotlight.

Call in by phone, chat online with comments, questions, suggestions about The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, Volume I, and Sally’s ideas, writing, and science-fiction/multiverse/romance/paranormal themes, Buddhism, Judaism, family: whatever you’re interested in talking with Sally about, this is YOUR hour!

Readers of this post who FOLLOW http://www.sallyember.com may email her to request a coupon for a FREE download of her ebook via Smashwords, good through 12/31/13.

Visit her site or https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197 to download free excerpts, read reviews/interviews, and more.

This Changes Everything cover

Go online (link below) to listen live and type in questions/comments via Chat, or call in to speak with the host, Will Wilson, 11 AM – noon, 12/27, EST, New York, USA, time, Friday: (646) 595-3951 in the USA

Or, if you miss it, it will be archived, same link, ever after:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks/2013/12/27/indie-books-show-15

Blog Talk Radio

1/5/14: Today, Will Wilson, the host/interviewer emailed me that this show with his interview of me, Sally Ember, author of “The Spanners Series,” now has Indie Books’ 2nd-highest listener ranking, with over 350 listeners since the 12/27 broadcast! it’s archived, so listen any time and share! Thanks, Will, and thanks to all the listeners, past and future! 

Gratitude Day!

Today marks the completion of my first ebook’s official first Launch into retail sales. I have many to thank for helping this happen. Here is my SPEECH in written form.

thank-you_gratitude_maui

First, I want to tell my son, Merlyn Ember, how much I respect, love, and appreciate him. His insights, lexicography, tech assistance, re-posting on Facebook and support have been invaluable to me as an author and as a mom. THANK YOU, Merlyn! And, THANK YOU to his partner, Lauren Harrison, my newest family member and friend, for her support and wonderful warmth.

Then, my second-oldest niece, Sarah Miranda, deserves her own special mention. Sarah is my first and most reliable Beta reader, my website developer and maven, on-tap tech help and Facebook quality control “friend” who re-posts on Facebook and corrects my mistakes. Sarah has inspired, supported, amused and informed me continually. THANK YOU, SARAH!

Next, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann. Without her generosity and support, there would not be such an amazing book cover. She has also supported, encouraged, re-posted on Facebook, and inspired me and my writing in numerous ways, including being THE instigator and prime mover of this entire push to publication and marketing since I was laid off from a trad job this summer. THANK YOU, ELLEN!

Special thanks to my cover artist, Willowraven, for helping me understand and develop my cover design with feasible and affordable guidelines without losing my vision or missing my deadline by too much! Visit her site! Give her your business (but not when I need her!): willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com

Next, my youngest sibling, Lauri Fleischmann Stern, for her ongoing support, re-posting on Facebook, and encouragement, ideas, and laughter. She is currently reading my book and I eagerly await her comments. THANK YOU, LAURI!

My mom, Carole Harris, in spite of technical hurdles, continues to leap over them (or knock them down) to support and encourage my authorship. She has also been a great friend, on and off Facebook. THANK YOU, MOM!

My sister-in-law, Laura Weis Fleischmann, even more hampered yet determined to overcome technical obstacles, remains a staunch supporter and is about to be a new reader of my ebook. THANK YOU, LAURA!

My brother, Jonathan Fleischmann, while mostly quiet about it, has nevertheless been a support and help to me and I THANK YOU, JON!

My long-time friend (since 1978!), Mario Cossa, has been a supporter and cheerleader for my efforts. I expect his enjoyment and critique of my ebook to start floating over the oceans and airwaves via SKYPE from Bali any day, now. THANK YOU, MARIO!

My newer friend (since 2011), Diana Ruiz, who drove all the way from Sonoma to Hayward yesterday, my ebook launch day, just to celebrate, encourage and support me, also treated me to lunch and then proceeded to post on Facebook and her own org page to support my ebook’s visibility. THANK YOU, DIANA! Send support to Women’s Global Leadership Initiative, her org: http://www.wgli.org

My recently departed but never-forgotten, long-time friend, Jaye Alper, figures into this ebook and series as the inspiration for one of the characters. She was too ill when I was drafting this to read any versions of it, but we did talk about it before she passed and I know she’s laughing and critiquing away and sharing it with her librarian contacts from wherever she is now. THANK YOU, JAYE!

Thanks also to many other friends, family members and supporters, including but not limited to: Christopher Ember Briggs, David Garelick, Pema Lama, Jim Shucart, Edward Elbers, Pamela Faith Lerman Gluck, Katie Schwerin, Bill White, Sandra Mellander, Heidi Henkel, Diane Stolar, Edina Adler, Helen Perdue, Suzanne Yeomans, Jennifer Foltz, Jennifer O’Donnell, Wendy Boldizar, Bill Weiss, Randi Weiss, Leo Weissman, Jody Serkes, Pat Lenobel, Bonnie Mulliken; Jeff Kravin and Julia Wersema; Debbie and John Paggi; Don and Fatima Frazier; Jeremiah and Elijah Kneeland; Emily, Noah, Amanda and Jamie Stern; Malka, Yakov, Akiva and Shaya Fleischmann as well as Adina, Talia and Estey Fleischmann; Ron and Scott Cytron; David, Michael and Kathy Rosen; Hillary, David and Adrienne Levin; all my colleagues and friends on Goodreads, #ASMSG and other FB, LinkedIn and Google+ groups’ members.

Thanks to those on Twitter whom I follow and who follow me. Especially grateful for the Retweets! #FF @sallyemberedd

Very important thanks to those who offered and then posted Author Interviews and read pre-pub editions/wrote and posted reviews: Pippa Green and others at the Science-Fiction Romance Brigade; Andrea Barbosa; Debbie Brown/Amethyst Eyes; Skye Callahan; New Book Journal; Shah Wharton; Bits, Bytes and Books “owner” and new author-friend, Ria Stone, author of Gina’s Dream; Zach Tyo; Lynda Dietz; Janice G. Ross. Links to all of these are on this website: http://www.sallyember.com Look to the right and SCROLL!

Thanks to Will Wilson for inviting me to his radio interview show which will air live on BlogTalk Radio, 11 AM EST, Friday, December 27: http://blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks

Special thanks to my first pre-pub reader and reviewer, fellow sci-fi author, Mary Josephine O’Brien, and best of wishes to her on the publication of her ebook, Shared Skies.

Thanks to all the groups, sites, book clubs, librarians, independent bookstore operators online and in person, and bloggers who post, re-blog and support indie authors and indie books. I can’t possibly name you all, but I hope you know how much your support and help with increasing visibility mean to us authors, typing all alone and creating who knows what in our little writing caves.

Special thanks to the Fremont, Redwood Empire and Hayward, CA, writers’ groups for critiques, support, inspiration and opportunities to do public readings, and encouragement.

Very special thanks to Jordan Rosenfeld, author/editor/blogger, for her professional information, inspiration and energy for improving my writing and for revision after revision.

Thanks and a tip of the hat in amazement to Mark Coker, Ted Summerfield and the entire Smashwords team for all your support, great instructional guides and videos, tech support and encouragement for my becoming and many millions of others being able to become ebook authors.

Thanks to Author U, Judith Briles and the team and invited marketing mavens there, for great webinars and advice for authors/writers. Take advantage of their “Mentoring Mondays”! Free! http://authoru.org/

Last and certainly not least: my spiritual teacher and long-time (since 1983) friend, Lama Drimed (Alwyn Fischel), who is the inspiration for many themes and topics in this series and for one of the characters (guess which one?), has my heart-felt devotion and eternal gratitude for so much, including all of his teaching, support, guidance and encouragement for my spiritual and professional paths. THANK YOU, LAMA DRIMED!

May all beings benefit.

Author interview with Sally Ember, Ed.D. on Houston Writers’ Guild website

Thanks, Houston Writers’ Guild for posting my Author’s Interview last week. Sorry I didn’t know until this week!

http://houstonwritersguild.org/category/indie-authors/

Appreciating Lia London’s: “12 Things You Should Know about Indie Authors…”

I was NOT going to go the indie route. I was an indie snob, myself, having grown up around “Vanity” presses and other such unprofessional ways that previous self-published writers had become authors. Their books were objects of scorn, their accumulated unsold volumes gathering dust in their garages, basements and storage areas, testimonials to their misplaced pride, I thought.

Then, the internet and ebooks led to this revolution in publishing. In the last several years, according to many reports, ebook sales have gone through the roof and indie publishing has more than quintupled x 100. Really.

This explosion, which has made available SO MANY books written, edited/proofread (or not), and distributed outside of or alongside of (often, while using) the traditional publishing houses’ and online stores’ routes, means several things:

1) My sci-fi concept, The Spanners Series, which languished in my computer and as various printed-outs in boxes of drafts that never made it past the query stage, is now getting PUBLISHED (well, ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I is, and I plan to publish the other 9 Volumes as well, via Smashwords.com: thanks, Mark Coker!) mostly due to my own hard work rather than waiting for luck.

2) There is a lot of variety in what is being distributed. Quality is hard to detect. You CANNOT judge the book by the cover, since many indie authors are on tight budgets and covers are expensive. Also, authors purchase or accept only “good” reviews. Paid armies of PR people or an author’s family and friends game the rankings’ and stack the reviews’ “ballot boxes.” PR hacks generally mess with readers. Authors can buy Twitter followers. Marketers blow many other false trumpets to herald a book that is actually HORRIBLE (or might be wonderful). How can any reader separate the wheat from the chaff?

3) Many millions of ebooks are now available. MOST are made free or ridiculously low-cost (under $5) for some or all of their “sales” periods. The sheer quantity and bewildering array flooding the market with cheap and free books make it even harder for any one book or author to get noticed, even those of high quality.

4) Getting our books noticed is made both more and less difficult by the fact that the author has to do all the marketing. I can tell you: it’s exhausting. And, doing all the marketing means it’s hard to carve out time to write, which is ironic, at best and extremely frustrating, at worst. Yes, we are motivated. Yes, we know our book best. Yes, we are committed to its success. However, most of us DO have (or, in my case, SHOULD soon have) other paying jobs and other books or stories to write!

Please read this great article (link, below) by Lia London about the trials and tribulations of and reasons to admire indie authors like me.

THEN: Help out us indie authors! Read reviews, read excerpts, shop around, engage with us. Finally, BUY OUR BOOKS! We need readers to rank us, write comments, recommend and refer to our books. We need readers, reviewers and bloggers! Thanks!

http://lialondon.net/about-indie-authors

Authors and Google+

Great for newbies to Google + and even some “old-timers,” if you’re trying to increase your use of its components. Thanks, Kobo!

Kobo Writing Life

By Evo Terra

Google has built an interesting and useful platform that’s designed to be approachable. Many elements baked into Google+ make it the ideal social property for an author. But like anything, it takes a little learning to understand all the moving pieces. Even those familiar with other social properties or the inner workings of Google+ can get a little tripped up with some of these terms.

Google+ is a social network based on shared interests and people you want to know rather than friends and people you already know. If you’re familiar with other social networking sites, many of the bells and whistles will be familiar to you. Some terms have the same or similar meaning on Google+ as they do anywhere else, but there are often subtle nuances you should be aware of.

Profile (for people): This is you and the things you’ve chosen to display to…

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Great Writing Tips from Roger Colby via Jonathan Gunderson

Great stuff, here. Not sure what I’ll do about the ISBN thing, but if my ebooks sell enough, I would want a print version, also, and CreateSpace is getting good comments by users, so far. We’ll see!