Monday, August 30, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: the beginning and the end...

With a long drive in front of my little family and two, yes two books on CD calling my name, I have mixed feelings about this upcoming Montana trip. My sister in law is getting married and we are going to help out and I am going to try to get in the way and be a pain, it's what I am good at.

Now the kids will make this experience memorable and I plan to have a camera on hand to capture the moments that will be implanted in the minds of all who attend this affair... What ever do you mean oh writer dude?

Let me tell you my predictions for the wedding.

Here we go.

Us, (My wife and I) Will arrive frazzled from the trip and be welcomed into a room in the upper chamber... yes, much like Jesus. We will drag our kids, 5, 2.5 and 1.5 into the mad house with children running a muck and wedding plans yet to be ruined... I mean fulfilled. We will have the great privilege to wake up at 6 AM to the sound of singing... or maybe a door slamming or maybe a child falling from a high bed. I will welcome the day with a smile and joy in my heart.

The kids will be so happy due to the long trip and the short nap we all call night time... they are so resilient these ones, a little sugar and a slap on the rump and they are ready to meet the day.

The day will move at breakneck speed with me and others somehow not being run over as the plans for the big day begin to take shape. There are decorations to be made and set up, dresses to finish and tuxes to pin and men to feed. I will try to keep my children from running into the highway and in the middle of this give a kiss to my wife who is not stressed one bit, amazing as she is...

Life will take us to the wedding try-outs, some will make it and others will not. some will take a walk down the aisle even though they all know how to do it and the wedding layout and all that, will be hashed out between a thousand girls and some guy in a suit. He will not have much say or at least no one will listen to him, he is after all, a man.

The day before the big day, fear and the "Oh my, I forgot to..." will hit and sleep will be impossible which will insure a great day in the morning. The kids... (ring bearer and flower girl) will rest with palm leaves waving over them and wake up refreshed and ready to do their duty. (I will be waving the palm leaves...)

The wedding is in Montana. Now we all know what is in Montana. Yes, sheep, but that is not what I am talking about. The view! Yes, mountains and rivers flowing all around and a abundance of trees and lakes for the poor to enjoy along with the rich. Now the fun part is with this view just about everywhere you turn (and most of it free mind you,) the wedding is a hour away in a paid location that... wait for it... backs up to the same free mountains and rivers. Yes ladies and gentlemen... a paid location, a paid lawn in which this splendid wedding will take place, now mind you it has a house on it, a rather large one that must have been paid for from past wedding goers. I for one can't wait to see the view... but I digress... I am just a simple guy... I know not of these wedding things... so I am sure I missed the importance... anyway... we move on. Oh an you MUST know the cost...well let's just say I could buy a reliable used car for the price being paid for 8 hours of use...

Wedding day, and we are all ready for this day to end, the wedding party is ready for one reason and the bride and groom for another.

The time is here and as the party walks down the aisle and stands on the little tape X we all wait for the flower girl and the 2.5 year old who will be walking at the very hour that he on most days except a wedding day, would be in bed taking his afternoon nap. Yes... I think you can see where this happy little story is going.

The little boy who is not a happy boy at all but a grumpy, angry tired boy holding a pillow and jammed into a tux on a hot afternoon surrounded by food, grass and the woods will walk down the aisle. Ha... I pull out my camera and wait for the bomb.

Now see it through his little eyes... he sees the green grass just begging to be pulled and jumped on. He smells the cake and little nuts and sees the red punch calling his tummy. He it hot, tired, and is wondering why he is in a suit holding a pillow with no one to throw it at. He is looking at the person at the end of said aisle calling him to walk down the long row and he thinks...

Well, now, I am not sure what he thinks... I can only guess. I with my camera ready and sweat pouring from my back hope and pray he sees a big leg of chicken at the end of that aisle and not his doom. Well, we will see what he thinks now won't we... and for the rest of you, just wait and watch for the article in the local papers, or check out the video on Utube.

Here is to the happy couple... may you laugh and remember that this is the beginning and the end.

The beginning of something new and exciting and the end of something that was new and exciting... funny how life does that to us.

P.S. I do say all this in jest... I am sure Kale will be fine... hee hee maybe with a Red Bull and the flower girls throwing candy instead of flowers... anything to help.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: Misconceptions, marketing and mass madness most mock

I talk to authors and writers everyday and one thing I am finding or hearing a lot is this: "I want to be published by a traditional publisher because they will market my book for me." or "POD or Self-published authors have no help marketing."

This opened up a world of questions and tells me that if these are your thoughts you do not understand publishing. Here is what I mean.

Publishing is a business, writing is a art but if you want to do it for a living or even if you don't but just want to have people read your book, well these all have one thing in common. You need to get your book into peoples hands. To make a living and to be a well read author.

To do this you need to market your book or books. The misplaced idea that a traditional publisher will do all the marketing for you if laughable if not absurd. Most of these publishers are spending their money on a sure bet like Dan Brown or James Patterson. For all the rest you may get some bookmarks and a press release but that is about it. If you do not believe me as someone that is published by a "BIG" publisher and see what they say.

The best person to sell your book is you. You have the passion, the ideas and people don't look at the author as a salesman, you are a artist and therefore you can sell them the book and say just about anything and get away with it. Now just so we understand each other... No matter how you are published most of the marketing will be on you. If your book does well or fails will be on you in the end.

I am finding out that the writing community is split up into groups. One group is the "High Brow" group. These scholars are made up of professors, poets, book critics and they play in the literature area of the game. Most of these well meaning people have never written anything or are still working on their masterpiece and it will never see the light of day. Some do finish and go on to win huge literary awards and bask in the glory of the five other scholars who tip a hat in their direction.

I am not in this group and would not want to be in this group even if I was the best writer of all time. They know nothing of marketing and will only aid you if your work is up to their standards. These look at writing as art and even if no one buys the book or understands the writing, (This must be a requirement) they look down on the ones who actually sell books.

Group two is the write a book to fit the need sort of like if Vampire book are hot they will write a vampire book. I call this group the "copycats." They do not care to copy others and try to ride the wave and most of this writing is lame with no thought going into it at all. I am not in this group but do see some of what they do to market and take note. You can see this author a mile away, no matter what you like to read this book is for you. "Oh, you like romance, yes this book is a amazing romance." You like science fiction, yup, this is a... oh, a western... yes, got shoot outs, it is all in here. It is hard for some to understand that their book may not be for everyone.

Last group is the "Realist." This is the author that writes for fun and enjoys the art of telling stories and does not take themselves to seriously. They are looked down upon from the High Brows as armatures and not worth their time. Yet these sell the mass majority of books. Their novels are not filled with large words because they write for the masses which do not speak with said words. They understand who their market is and sell to them without trying to force their work on someone who will not like it just because they think they are the best writer to walk the earth.

I think it is funny how many people are down on James Patterson because his writing is not good or he is boring and predictable ect... He sells more books and writes more books and they are mad because they can't sell one. It is not a matter of beautiful writing or content, it is a voice and speaking to people. The people hear him and will keep coming back for more but it is not because of the writing. This fact is what makes so many authors and book crazy people mad. He sells well because he markets well. He sells millions because he is out there selling himself. It is not about the writing, it is about the marketing.

Selling books is a business and if you don't understand that you may never be able to make a living writing. I know a ton of authors that write better and I know I have so much to learn and I am earning everyday. However I sell books. Not trying to be arrogant but why would you want advice from someone who can't sell a book? The reason I sell books is because I market. I talk to people and do book signings and get out there. If I had a bar of soap I was selling I would go to dirty people and try to talk them into using my soap.

You my author friend have a bar of soap. Who wants your soap? Why is your soap the best? Now go to the dirty people and sell them your soap! Now if your soap sucks... you will find out quick enough and work on the formula and make better soap. But sell like this is a real business. Because it is...

I am a perfect example of this... not because I am any better or because I have something you don't have. You should look at me and my books and say, "Wow, if this hack can sell books, so can I!" Really, i mean it, you can do this, but don't spend your life waiting on others, (Big Publishers) you are in control, if your work is good they will come. I never even tried to submit my books to a publisher, I emailed one but soon saw the error in wasting my time when I could write and if I made a big splash they would come to me. Now I have them calling me because they want a piece of the pie... make a splash and turn them down for a change... it might be fun.

Monday, August 23, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: My head hurts...

I always get a headache when i go through a novel and get it ready for the printing process. 125k words and sitting for hours can make the old brain go to mush. I also am in the middle of a lively discussion on Facebook, it is fun and good to talk and think. Sometimes we believe something just because we always have.

This blog is not a single minded kind of thing. Most of this is my open thoughts and stuff I learned and maybe something I pass along might help someone else. That being said I want to say that if you do not agree with me that is fine. I do not require you to agree with me, this is after all my opinion... and you know what they say about them...

I get content from life experiences and other people and just from inside of my pea brain. It all gets put through the meat grinder and what comes out is this. Now if you think I might be talking to you or that something here is to a single person you are mistaken. I pull all sorts of things and sometimes seeing a kid scream in the store will spark a thought and a email will get it going again and by the time it is out here it came from many different places.

This comes from Rants mostly, they are more personal and not just info on writing but these are thoughts and ideas done tongue in cheek and if you know me you know I am a sarcastic person. If you want to tell me all about your leg and how it hurts or whine about your dog, give it a go.

This is after all the worst book ever!

Just so everyone is clear... I do not hate anyone... well, there is this one guy... never mind. Besides people like our beloved President (And I still pray for him)I think people are okay in general. Stupid most of the time but what do you do? I am part of this human race so I guess we are all in this together.

So here is to the home stretch... over half way there, soon this blog will be compiled into the worst book ever and the best of the years post's will be a part of one jumbled up book. I will have a lot of work to do to get it all to fit and to be put into some sort of semblance of order. Maybe subjects for chapters... that way the writing stuff can be in one and the e-book in another... something like that... any ideas?

Friday, August 20, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: You know you like it...

If you follow this blog you know I tend to have what I call a rant every now and again. This is where I open up and just tell you how it is without putting up a filter to protect your feelings. So, if you are of a "be nice all the time" kind of person... here is your warning.

Advice: This is the topic today, advice. When should we give it and what should we say and where.

It is amazing to me how little people think sometimes. Most of these people are my age or younger so this is directed at you and me. If you find yourself in the following pages be aware I realize you are not going to change just because I said so, but maybe down the road you will look back and see things differentially and maybe be able to help out some young person...

First, don't give advice on parenting if you do not have grown children or only have children of one sex. That is like a three year old giving advice on writing a book just because they learned their ABC's.

So this is me not giving you advice on parenting. And the only advice me or any other young parent should give is this: do what you believe is right. You and I are young and have no right and not enough experience to say boo to anyone. Now people in authority like a pastor or teacher has these liberties and the wisdom to teach it in a helpful way.

The next subject is self justification and the taker:

Yes, we all do it, that is not the point, it is the ones who do it but don't think or know they do it. No amount of Bible will fix what is done. If you wrong someone own up to it and say sorry and move on. Holding your hands over your eyes works just as well as it did when you were four, not very well.

A taker will take from others and never give back, and in their wake is a line of dry hollow ex-friends that they used up.

If you find yourself trying to get something for nothing all the time, you might be a taker.

Give and it shall be given to you... And he gave... give... give... give. It is everywhere. Does giving stop because we do not have or because it might hurt? No... all the great examples in the Bible are of people that gave and had nothing. The widow... Jesus... The woman with the oil and bit of bread... the list goes on and on but the taker will make up a reason not to give and in their mind it is okay because they are always right no matter what.

And last, the imbalance.

In the advice department if you find you are giving more advice and no one will say anything to you or give you advice. Might want to take a long look...

You have two ears and only one mouth... all old advice, but good.

Carry on...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: When bad covers happen to good people.

Lets face it... the old line, "you can't judge a book by it's cover" is old and no one really thinks it is true. We all judge a book by it's cover... unless it is a well known author that could wrap the book in cardboard and it wouldn't matter. But for the rest of us the book cover is so very important.

Most people will see the cover and if it is good they will pick up the books and read the back, second most important thing is the back but that is a topic for another time. We are going to talk a little about the cover and little things to make your book look more professional.

Have you ever seen a cover and about LOLed? Yeah... I know. Some including some of mine are like gag, lame, as if a child took a ink pad and dirt and went to town. If your cover sucks you are already behind the game. The last thing we authors need is to start out with a crappy cover.

First thing is the right cover for the wrong book. Example of this is a book called Beat the Reaper. The cover is cool with blue comic book like burst and the title in red against a white background. It looks like a thriller maybe a comic book kind of book. What is it? a medical thriller... nope, good cover but for the wrong book. If your book is a mystery have a dark mysterious cover with a police car or something... you want to attract the right reader.

Next is the bad cover. Not anything about this cover is good and it screams self published! Readers will see this cover a mile away and run in the opposite direction. Sorry but here is a example.

I will not expound on why it is bad... but here are some tips and little things that will make a world of difference.

First have someone who is a professional do your cover. Pay the man! It is well worth it. Don't take a picture of your grandma and photo-shop her on the cover holding a bat. Start off with the right theme and feel of what your book is about and go from there.

Second, add a review or blurb on the front... something like: "Gripping... wonderful and spellbinding..." All well known authors do this and so should you.

Third. add some line at the top, a review or something where most bestsellers have the New York times ranking. Even if it is Book one of the ... something because people look for it and so it makes it better to say something here.

Forth, Don't listen to your friends... they will tell you it is amazing even if it sucks... you wrote a book and they didn't and they will feel weird telling you anything. Let another author see it or a publisher that has a history of good covers. Some of these small presses have bad covers on all their titles, might want to skip this one for advice.

Fifth, find the well known author that writes the same subject matter as you and mimic their style, don't copy it but see what they do and learn from it. The readers that read so in so will also be the readers you want. So, see what they look for and make your cover fit that mold and still be original.

Example: My readers and the author I look to is James Patterson for obvious reasons. Now his style is to have a BIG title, most take up half the book just with the title. And he has his name at the top and BIG as well. So, I did the same, Big title and author name, same type of font ect... So if a reader sees my books they will associate me with him, that is what I want because his readers are my readers.

The best place to find good advice on your cover is your local bookstore. The owner or a worker will know what sells and what does not. Show them and ask what they think your book is about and if they like the cover enough to want to buy the book. You will go a long way to take heed to these people, they know books and will be a great resource.

Here are some examples of good covers, notice the little things like a review and such...

Friday, August 13, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: No time to write.

If you are like me you find that time is like a scared squirrel. Every time you think you have it cornered it runs up a tree and cackles at you. I have a job, ha, well not really a job but I am busy with publishing stuff and all the things that come along with that, and... (Big sigh) a family, with a Wife and three kids and Church and things to do like yard work, (Which i love but have not done much of this year) and I know this is a run on...

Did I mention I am busy?

I love writing and I need to write to get this third book out so I can move on to other things, but I find I am having a hard time getting it done. Am I alone?

I bet not. So here is some things to remember when you are giving yourself that old line of I have no time.

First, you are a liar!

You have time to do what you want to do. Example, I am really into this book I am reading, so I will stay up till midnight to read it. I am losing sleep over a dumb book! But I want to read it, therefore... I make time.

Try this, get up one hour early and go write for a hour, I find in the morning I can write more but I have to shut off the phone and force myself not to look at e-mail or Facebook or I will get sucked into the day and lose the motivation. If my brain is thinking about what i have to do or who I need to call I can't get anything done.

Next, think about writing at Nap time (Parents know what this is) or after everyone is in bed. Nothing is going on and so you will not miss anything. Really, like you might miss a status update on someones kid who just pooped on the carpet, or so in so just changed their status from 'single' to 'in a relationship.' What are we really missing?

Make a list. I find if I make a list of things I have to do I can forget about them for a little bit so I can think about the story. I also think about my story all the time, as if these made up people are real! Well, to me they are, I can see Kirk and smell his BO. I can see Mark and K as if they exist outside of my imagination. This will help you to get more done if you have a idea of what part of the story you are in.

And last of all... just get it done. I made a goal for a weekly word count and if i have to stay up till 2 AM I am going to get it done gosh darn it! If I can find the time so can you, not get to work and quit cruzing blogs!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: Voices from the grave.

Dead people still do talk. Here is a example.

Publishing the old way. Dead.

The "big guys" have built a trap. This trap is filled with presses, paper, ink, binding equipment, staff, editors, layout, and so on. All these people need to be paid which means they have huge overhead. And guess who pays for that overhead? Yup, the author and the book buyer.

Now take this huge empire and throw in a small publisher and a single author like myself or J.A.Konrath into the mix and see what happens. Low overhead because all the people small publishers have are freelance. No press, no printer, no ink and everything done is cash and carry. Guess who makes out better? Yup the author and the book buyer.

e-books throw this off kilter even more. Here is a way a author or small publisher can get out the work and it is low cost and high return. Here comes the undercutting... Here comes the e-book revolution and the wave of e-readers under 100 bucks. Here comes the small time author that can now compete with James Patterson in the same room with Steven King.

Is this bad? Is this good?

We will see. But I am for the author... I am in the corner of the author and if this shift is what it takes for the "big guys" to wake up and see that the way you have been doing business is not working anymore, well lets just see...

BTW, in what time ever in history could a guy like me make a living on writing without selling 100,000 books the old way? When has there ever been a batter time to be a writer? I say never!

So, strap on my friends... this is going to get interesting in a hurry.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: dumb stuff...

This post is not really anything, just some thoughts, maybe not even all one thought... a mass of words and other stuff.

Book club is fun, lots of people and strong personalities. Just remember that no matter Ken and Me and always right, so don't bother arguing with us. I also found out someone in the group... will not say who but this person seems to thing all old people are a burden of the country... maybe we should just kill them all off... what do you think?

If you rent you are dumb (not my words). I rent right now but it is because of a plan and the plan is to wait till the bottom comes out from the market and buy in a few years... Oh, and if you want to rent, go for it... who am I to say what you should do with your money...

So busy this week that I am having a hard time getting any writing done. Now I have 10k words to get done this weekend to meet my goal. I should be good, I can do 5k tomorrow and 5k on Sunday.

You ever wonder where a stereotype came from? Well if you see a white guy with a mullet and a NASCAR t-shirt on with a big woman as his bride it makes you wonder. These come about because enough of the population do something that it sticks. So if you do not like the stereotype don't get mad at me, it is not my fault you or someone like you did the same dumb thing over and over again that it turned into a stereotype.

Black people wear bling and rap... White guys can't dance or jump... Mexicans run real fast and like their car over their house... Rednecks don't care how they look as long as they get their NASCAR and their beer... Blond's are dumb... Women think they are smarter, and we men let them think this... Asian's are all good at Kung-Fu...

Now if this made you mad, consider looking in the mirror and slapping yourself. Lighten up, we all have them and you need to learn to laugh at whatever race you find yourself in and be you and not worry about what others think of you. I didn't make up this list I just observed and reported...

I was just looking at this bird over here...

ADD... ADD, it's fun for you and me.... Laa Laa

Some family is in town, good to have them around and good to have free babysitting... date night!

Had a Chicago dog today from this vendor here in Nampa... they are so good, I mean the bomb good. Called Mad Dogs, on the Blvd in the Jiffy Lube parking lot, gut is a old dude from NY, if you live here you have to try them... he has NY dogs, Chicago and many others, the real deal not fake wanna be's.

My legs hurt... i work them out in Church... when we sing I keep them flexed and do the calf during the sermon... by the end I can hardly walk... good workout. You should try it... why not?

Oh... some kid on Sunday in front of us or someone farted... it was so bad... We were gagging and trying to act natural... Wow... took some will power to not laugh. I wonder who birthed that one?

Hate Starbucks coffee... but love the people who work there... so I put up with the coffee.

I have a pretty good tan... should go swimming today.


K, that's it...

Bet your glad...

But yet you keep reading...

What does that say about you?

Really, you are sick in the head...


I am not going to say anything more worth reading...


Sunday, August 1, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: e-book sales news!

So if you do not know by now I am very open about just about everything. This can be a good thing or it may tick you off. On this subject of e-books I am a new author as like many of you. I want to help out other authors in any way I can to work up to a income where one is able to make a living writing even if you do it on your own.

So here is the scoop.

Most of you know my story and so I will sum it up, if you want more be sure to check out my book soon to be released called "The e-book on e-books"

I started out with one book the end of 2008 and the end of 2009 I released my second book and just last month a short story. These are all in print as well as in e-book form. For this info I will be talking only e-book numbers.

First book set price at $14.99 was selling 10-12 a month for 7 months.
Dropped the price to $4.99 and sold 48 that month.
Second book came out and so I set it at 8.99 and book 1 at .99. Sold 120 that month.
Book one has been at .99 as of November of 2009 and numbers are such...
And this month I changed the price from .99 to 2.99 in order to get the new 70% royalty rate. I was scared and was prepared for the numbers to drop out. But I had some padding so was mentally prepared. July just ended yesterday so this is still sort of not real to me so here goes...

July: 2661

I know crazy. And this is book one. Now for book 2 numbers, they are not as cool but still worth noting even though they are at a higher price point.

Book 2

November: 20
And for July... 227 at a $8.99 price point.

In a term we can all understand before this works out to be before this month about 1k a month give or take some depending on the month. This month, July that puts it over 5k in the month of July. Now I will not see this money until October 1st, but it is still crazy that off 2 books a writer can possibly make a living. Now the scary part... How in the world can I top this month... in fact I am not really doing anything, just doing the same old thing and writing more to get more out there...

This is all the more reason I am thankful for God and how he has month in and month out taken care of me and my family. It is in the end all in his hands and so out of my control which makes it all the more exciting.

With this going the way it is I hope it can keep up or at least hold. I plan to have book 3 out by the end of the year and my new teen thriller which you will love... I love it so you have to... if not... I may have to kill you... I mean your dog.

Hope this helps to get real numbers and I also want to thank all the people that have put up with my writing and the poor editing I had. I am a story teller not a English major and this fact makes this story even more amazing. If I can do it anyone can.

Feel free to ask any questions if you have any... I am here to help if I can... we all got to stick together...