WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on some marketing materials for Flawed Perfection. We have bookmarks done and ready, and a sticker designed to go on the front of individual tissue packs (cause it’s a real tear jerker!).

Bookmark One Front:

Sorry! You can’t see it–because it has a piece of the yet to be revealed cover!

Bookmark One Back:

bm 1 back

Bookmark Two Front:

bm2 frontBookmark Two Back:

bm 2 back darker

Sticker:Series Name

     I.       

 

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on the edits for Flawed Perfection. Here’s a sneak at the new first chapter–but not the whole thing!

I yawned as I closed my laptop and blinked at the television clock - 10:00 PM - I hadn’t even eaten yet. I began to stand, but dropped back down on the couch when I heard the giggle from across the hall; it was accompanied by a laugh I knew all too well, and the slam of the door. I sank deeper into the cushions as my mind drifted back to another night filled with his laughter…

My eyes open at the sound. Someone was throwing a rock against my bedroom window. I shot up in bed and looked around the pitch black room lit only by the hot pink comforter as the sound hit again. Mom had to take my night light today of all days when there wasn’t even a moon outside. There it was again, and it was definitely a rock. I slipped out of bed and went to the window.

There hanging in the tree next to my window was Adam and in his hand was a glowing jar.

I slowly lifted the window so it wouldn’t squeak. “What the heck are you doing?”

“I heard your mom made you get rid of the night light,” Adam replied, shoving the jar into my hands.

I took it and narrowed my eyes at him as he swung in the window.

“Who told you that?” I asked. I was glad the room was now only dimly lit by the glowing jar so he couldn’t see my pink cheeks.

“Bobby, who else?”

“What a jerk!” I huffed.

Adam shrugged as he pulled two other jars from his backpack. “I couldn’t fit them all in. I didn’t realize how hard it was to climb a tree with one arm.”

“What’s in these?” I asked as Adam set them on the ground and the room began to dance with the light.

“Fireflies,” he replied, and his thin lips turned into that crooked smile.

“You put what in these?” I hissed at him, stepping forward.

Adam’s brow furrowed over his face.

“I spent an hour catching fireflies for you,” he repeated and I watched as his throat rose and fell as he swallowed. “Don’t worry—I poked holes in the top.”

He moved closer to me so I could smell his cologne—the one I’d bought him for his sixteenth birthday a few days earlier. I tried to hide the deep breath I took of him as he moved my fingers across the metal top so I could feel the holes he’d poked.

He smirked at me again with his fingers still over mine.  I could feel the calluses from playing guitar—ones I’d felt a thousand times before as he leaned over me and tried his best to teach me how to strum. “You know I’d never hurt your precious fairies, Riv.”

COPYRIGHT, 2014 CASSANDRA GIOVANNI

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on the Marketing Plan for FlawedPerfection.

Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #1)

Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player–he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.
River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She’s been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she’s stuck right in the middle of the brother’s dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn’t even know she’s the ultimate prize.
Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girl’s hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, no body thought Adam loved anyone but himself.
Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself–or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all…

1.0-Defining Objectives-

Defining objectives means that you decide what you are going to promote, what your goals are, how profits will be measured, and finally how failures will be measured–yes, I just said failures. We won’t be sugar coating anything here. A good marketing plan is unbiased and truthful. You need these two things to ensure your own integrity and success.

1.      What are we going to promote?

 Flawed Perfection- New Adult Contemporary Romance

2.      What are the goals of the promotion and the product?

a.      Release March 7, 2014

b.     Organize Cover Reveal for February 7, 2014

c.       Send Press Release to Norwich Bulleting, and The Day by March 1, 2014

d.     Organize Release Blitz for March 7, 2014

e.      Organize month long blog tour from 3/10/14-4/10/14

f.       Contact Bank Square Books to set up release signing

g.      Hit one blog a day for at least 4 months total

h.     Reach 75 reviewers through blog contacts, tours, and R2R

i.        Sell 5,000 copies

j.        Break the 5,000 rank on Amazon

3.      How will profits be measured?

*Price point: $2.99

Royalty: 70%

Potential Profit/unit: $2.09

Goal: 5,000

Built-in Failure Rate: 75% of goal, equaling 3,500

Reasonable Profit Expectation: $7,315 (I just gagged a little bit)

Paperback Bookstore Price: $14.99 (at B.E.P)

Paperback Amazon: $12.99

Paperback Author-Direct: $12.99

**Paperback Profit: $0.00

*Profit will be reduced to $0.00 when second novel is released in the series. The price will drop to zero effective release week of Pieces of Perfection.

**Paperback profit is reduced to zero due to some pricing being at the B.E.P, and by the paperback giveaways that are incurred throughout the year.

4.      How are we going to measure failures or losses?

Sales at 50% of goal—assess marketing plan, target marketing and implementation specifically

 

1.2-Market Segmentation-Aka Selecting the Target Market

Selecting your target market means you need to consider whom you wrote your book for and what marketing strategies appeal to that particular target. You are taking a homogeneous market and dividing it up into more reasonable target areas. There are several simple ways that regular marketers concentrate on market segmentation:

1.      Geographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by the areas in which your clientele live such as states, countries, regions, etc.

2.      Demographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by socioeconomic factors such as age, sex,  education, income, occupation, etc.

3.      Psychographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by lifestyle, personalities, attitudes, values, interests, etc.

4.      Behavioral Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by the buying behaviors that a certain group exhibits consumption, usage, desired benefits, etc.

I will use demographic, pyschographic and behavioral segmentation to obtain a select market of readers:

My demographic is New Adults in the age range of 17+. The market is mainly 17-35, but there will be others attracted. The novel is a Contemporary romance so I will be looking to attract a mostly female demographic, and as far as pyschographic, the sub-genre will attract those with a personality that has an interest in love stories, stories with love triangles and about grieving. The buying behavior of those reading New Adults seems to be e-books, so the novel should be available on as many e-book platforms as possible. I do not want to miss out on the portion of the population that still craves the smell and feel of paper–so I will also have a paperback available. The paperback will also act as a good incentive for giveaways and promotions.

1.3-Selecting Promotion Channels-

A. Sales Channels

1.      E-books:

                                                              i.      Amazon

                                                           ii.      Barnes and Noble

                                                         iii.      Kobo

                                                         iv.      Google Play

2.      Paperbacks via Createspace:

                                                              i.      Amazon

                                                           ii.      Bank Square Books

                                                         iii.      Author Direct

B. Media Promotion Channels

     I.        Goodreads- Reach out to NA reading groups for R2R

  II.        Facebook- Promote with excerpts, snippets, sales information etc.

III.        Blog- Teaser Tuesdays

 IV.        Twitter- Post quotes, talk about sales, blog reviews, etc.

   V.        Pintrest- Post fanart and rating stats

C. Marketing Materials and SWAG

     I.        Bookmarks – Two Different Designs that focus on content, not where to get it

  II.        Postcards – Front with quote, back with buying information

III.        Flyers- Poster style flyers with just the cover on them

 IV.        Guitar Picks

   V.        Team Pins

 VI.        Team Stickers

VII.        Team Blog Banners

VIII.        Individual Tissue Packs with cover sticker

 IX.        Cover Stickers

   X.        Wing Charm Necklace

 

1.4-Implement the Plan-

Starting–NOW

Authors Behaving Badly

This seems to be a hot topic on Indie authors. I’m starting to see it all the time–authors calling out authors who they think are behaving badly. Here I am, and I am calling the kettle black. I’ll try my best to not be a giant hypocrite, but I feel I should voice my humble opinion–give you something to think about.

I’m calling out authors behaving badly calling out authors behaving badly. I’ve read quite a few posts lately and they all seem to be like the cartoon above, and not only that they are littered with plenty of what would require censoring. Those authors are that mad about those other authors, that they are screaming blasphemy, fist pounding and swearing–and (IMHO) say what, behaving badly! I’m notorious for hating one thing– people not owning their opinion. Here’s the thing, these posts not only say how horrid these other Indies are, but they also behave like a rule book, stating what Indies can and cannot do. Me, personally, I thought the whole reason to be an Indie was to not play by someone else’s rules. You know what? EVERY SINGLE industry has trolls in it, and guess what? Traditionally pubbed authors aren’t exempt from this either–there are plenty of them giving authors a bad name in general. The virus isn’t Indie Publishing, in my opinion, it’s human nature. Have I had run ins with authors who don’t take publishing seriously? Yes! Have I heard/seen an author say they published a book to get it out there and will just fix those nasty little errors later when enough people call them out on it? Yes! You know what, the only person those Indies are hurting are themselves. There are other Indies who are working to show their professionalism, integrity and drive every day. I see more of those than I do those Indies, because those indies are likely to publish one book, get the review beat up of their life and give up, because they aren’t serious about it. As far as I can see no one wants to put something out there and get it ripped to shreds, and you know what, NO book is perfect! Not yours who is making the Indie rules, not mine, and not traditionally published author’s. I can pretty much guarantee that every single book I’ve ever read has some mistake someone missed. Do Indie books tend to have more than others? It truly depends. Do I think you should get an editor? Sure. Do I think YOU MUST HAVE ONE? No. If you can put out a book people love and you’re proud of without one–go ahead. You aren’t making a bad name for me by publishing something with typos. I make my own name!

Am I an Indie? YES! HELL YES!

Are there some Indies that behave badly? YES!

Are there traditionally pubbed authors that behave badly? YES!

What I am truly getting down to, is this: You and you alone are responsible for your fate. Every industry has its share of trolls! By demonstrating your own integrity you are protecting your brand image, and that is the only image you can control. Let those other Indies drown themselves– and if it bothers you, don’t watch–look for the stars of the industry. The ones the readers love, and in the end publisher’s love–like Colleen Hoover. Oh, and as for those rules– I’m Indie, and I’m fabulous, and bold– I hold these rules for myself and myself only:

meYou can have whatever rules you want for you.

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on getting enough bloggers to promote the novel. This includes endless hours contacting blogs and researching those blogs and who they support. I aim to contact 50-100 additional blogs a week, and I’ve currently contacted about 450. I still need A TON of help, because I’ve come to realize these blogs are REALLY busy–I am not the only one contacting them. This is way I need to contact at least triple this amount to make this novel successful. That’s right I need to contact well over 1,000 blogs to successfully market this book. Are you a blogger? Facebooker? I could really use your help! Here’s how you can help!

To say thank you anyone who signs up and posts will receive a complimentary e-ARC. If you prefer to respond via email, please do.
NOTE: You do not need to have a sign-up genius account to sign up, nor do you have to sign up for an account. It just makes it easier for me to keep track of things to use it!

 

Cover Reveal Date: 2/7/14

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed

Book Release Date (Blitz Date): 3/7/14
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed1

Giveaway: Yes, International e-book and Paper Swag Pack


Tour Dates: 3/10/14- 4/4/14
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed2

Giveaway: Yes, US Only- Paperback, Ultimate Swag Pack; International e-book and Paper Swag Pack

 

Book: Flawed Perfection

Series #: 1 of 4

Series: Beautifully Flawed

Author: Cassandra Giovanni

Publisher: Show n’ot Tell Publishing

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

HEA: This is a tear jerker, but the series does have a happy ending

Sexual Rating: Moderate–this is not erotica

Language: Moderate

Description:
Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player–he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.
River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She’s been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she’s stuck right in the middle of the brother’s dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn’t even know she’s the ultimate prize.
Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girl’s hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, no body thought Adam loved anyone but himself.
Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself–or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all…

 

Boston or Bust?

That would be a big giant:

BUST

I took a few weeks to let the issues that occurred be addressed by the BBF staff before deciding to sit down and write this. Then once they’d “resolved” the issues I took a few more weeks to stew over that. I’m going to be honest and open here, as I always try to be. I’m going to try to be factual as well…Here goes…

So what happened? I was extremely excited when I learned the 5th Annual Boston Book Festival was offering this:

New in 2013! Individual authors and independent literary presses can take out a table along “Indie Alley.” This newly created, author-exclusive exhibitor area is situated in front of the John Hancock Tower at the intersection of St. James Avenue and Clarendon Street. The Boston Magazine even spoke about it…

The independent author and self-published book industries are booming at the moment, and organizers of the annual Boston Book Festival recognize that

So to cater to the demand, for the first time ever, they are offering up space to those who have worked tirelessly to get their name out without the help of a major publishing company to back them up.

“That market is exploding right now. I think one of our goals [at the festival] is to always spark the interest and creativity of aspiring authors, and to have attendees be able to see people who are out there [self-publishing], and getting voices out there, which can be inspirational for them,” said Norah Piehl, deputy director of the Boston Book Festival. “It provides a voice for people at the festival that may not otherwise be heard.”

(Read the Entire Article by clicking on Boston Magazine above).

The key thing here that happened was–we weren’t heard. I really should have known better, as I am from Mass. In fact I was only a twenty minutes from Boston growing up. The thing is, I’m not really all that familiar with Boston. I didn’t realize the place they were putting us was NO WHERE near the event on Copley Square. We were abandoned in a corner; one that no one would even pass through to get to the main event. What do I mean by abandoned? There was absolutely NO signage indicating where we were, and the map…our tiny, miniscule dot was laughable. Many authors had fans and/or family members that came specifically for Indie Alley–and they couldn’t even find it! The event was to last from 10PM to 5PM, and promised to send some of the 25,000 people that attend annually our way. Great in theory! There sure was a huge mass of people on Copley Square–there was live music, booths with books and major published authors, oh and TONS of people…a BLOCK away from us. The attention and traffic to those areas was obvious, and then the other obvious thing was the MASSIVE amount of space that we could have been in. No, I’m not talking about the lawn of Copley Square–it was obvious that was not to be trodden on, and I’ve got no issue with that. I’m talking about the space around the lawn to the right that was empty! The space that to the front and left was filled with those major published authors. In the end I sold some books, one to a fan of another author who I just happened to be talking to when the fan came, and another two to two other authors at the fair. The bill for this day…well, between what I paid for the table, to drive on the Mass Pike, the time spent driving (3 hours total), the time I spent freezing my butt off  and the cost of marketing materials and paperbacks. Well, I’m in a big fat red zone. The BBF pointed out that was a risk we took, because they couldn’t guarantee attendance. The fact is, the BBF gave us plastic tables, with .50 cent plastic table clothes and a sticker with our name on it and an area where no traffic would go through. By 2:00 half of the authors had left in a huff, and by 2:30 I’d left, too. I was sullen, but at the same point, it was a risk. I understand that–I only wished we hadn’t been thrown off in a corner–or that there was SOME sort of signage indicating the hole in the wall that we were in compared to the main event. I didn’t want a refund. I’d just wanted my voice to be heard–a struggle that is evident in being an Indie author; one that the event organizers claimed they understood. They’re attention to the main event (which we should have been included in and it was always alluded to that we would be) and claimed ignorance of us indicated they didn’t understand. So, I decided to write a letter:

I’m not sure if you would be the person to speak about this, but the event really didn’t go the way that I thought it would. I was very disappointed with the set up, as there was no signage indicating where we were, and we were a block away from the actual Festival. Honestly, it really was like being in an alley, but it wasn’t even in direct walking distance of the festival. It truly felt as though we were an after thought. I was excited for the chance to be a part of a major book festival, and was disappointed that we were put off in a corner where no one would, or did, find us. It was even more frustrating to see the plethora of people gathering at the actual festival, and the mass of empty space in which we could have been–actually a part of the festival. I’ve had more exposure at local high school craft fairs, of which I paid much much less to be at. I do thank the organization for attempting to invite independent authors to the event, but in the end it felt like we were being scorned. I appreciate you taking this into consideration for your future events. I’d love to be a part of the Festival next year, but only if cost and the location are considered and changed.

Looking at it now, it does seem a bit harsh, but it was truthful. I did feel scorned and put in a corner. In fact this kept playing in my mind:

I certainly don’t want to sound like a cry baby in this situation. I took the risk. I paid the money, and I realized it really didn’t work. C’est la vie. I was surprised by the BBF’s answer:

Dear Indie Alley Exhibitors,

Many of you have reached out to us after the last week following your time at the Boston Book Festival.  We are disheartened that so many authors had a bad experience at this year’s BBF. Our intention with setting up Indie Alley was to offer independent authors a chance to exhibit at our event and we are sorry that Indie Alley did not draw the audience we had hoped it would. 

To address some of the issues you have raised, you should know first of all that the space that we used for Indie Alley is the only one the city of Boston would allow us to use.  Our request to close Trinity Place to traffic was denied and the grass at Copley Square is off-limits.  In terms of foot traffic, we had planned to have an entire day of poetry readings in the Blue Glass Café in the John Hancock building, which would have brought several hundreds of festival-goers through your exhibitor area.  We were notified less than a month before the BBF that the building’s power would be off for HVAC repairs and that we would have to relocate the poetry.  This was unforeseen.

Indie Alley was an experiment, and apparently one that failed.  We regret that failure and in future years will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.  This is a shame, but we have no other choice given the poor attendance this year.

While we are as disappointed as you are that Indie Alley was not a success, we did invest both time and money in setting it up.  This was a risk that you as exhibitors and we as the event planners took jointly and while your contract states that there are no refunds, in light of the poor attendance we would like to offer to refund each of you half of your fee.  To request a refund, please download the attached document, sign and either fax or mail it back to us, attention <name removed for privacy>.

Please know that we have learned from this year’s experience how better to serve our community in the future, and we hope you are able to attend and enjoy the BBF in future years.

We got a list of excuses, but no explanation for why they didn’t decide to move us to the large area NOT on the lawn, or to the huge sidewalk area that was still in viewing of the main event. No explanation for why there was NO SIGNAGE indicating where we were. No explanation for why we WERE A TINY dot on a map. We got a refund, and an invitation to attend in future years BUT NOT AS EXHIBITORS. This was the part that upset me the most. In future years <we> will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.

WHAT? Really? That was the part that had me sitting rereading the letter over and over again in disbelief. Shunned. Scorned. Abandon. Definitely not understood. This year didn’t work, we can all admit that–but why can’t we work to make this better? I’m sure that many of the authors, including myself, would be willing to meet via conference call with event organizers to talk about how future years could be better organized. I’m a project manager–I do marketing plans–there’s a failure component in both. You fail, you look at why and you revise your plan! You do not abandon it!

So, yet again, New England is left without a Festival or Conference to celebrate Indie authors and what they contribute to the literary world. BBF could have filled that hole, and after one poor attempt they gave up. I don’t plan on giving up, but at this point there isn’t much I can do in the way of Festivals. So, plan on coming out to the bookstores that I do my release signings at, and the high schools I do craft fairs at…I’ll be there with a great novel and a smile!

Marketing Plan Creation (Part 3): Select Promotion Channels

Marketing Plan Part 3:

Select Promotion Channels

This week we will continue with Part Three of how to create your book marketing plan. We will be focusing on the process of selecting the channels by which you will promote your novel. In this segment we will not only talk about whom you choose to sell through, but also websites where you can promote your novels. First, let’s review some of the distribution channels that you have.

E-book Distribution Channels

As the expansion of the e-book continues and threatens to eliminate the printed novel, there will be more and more channels to keep track of. I’ve chosen to have my novels available on three for varying reasons. I’ve seen some authors that have their novel on around ten different websites. This seems a bit exhaustive to me, yes you can reach different types of readers, but as long as one of the websites that your book is on is working from an epub file, you should be good to go. The one channel that I would like to be on but that I can’t afford is the iBook store. This store, for those with iPhones, requires that each novel has it’s own e-book ISBN. The irony of this is, there is no such thing as an e-book ISBN, nor is there a real requirement for your e-book to have a different ISBN for it’s electronic format and it’s paperback formant. Unfortunately, ISBN’s cost around $165.00 each, and compared to the profits available, this just doesn’t make any sense for me. Those that have the IPhone can download any number of applications that would allow them to either buy the Kindle version, or one of the many Epub versions of my novels available. Onto some of the specifics of each channel available that I utilize:

Amazon Kindle

  • Royalties: 70% for all books priced $2.99 and above; 35% for all books priced $2.98 and below. You cannot sell your book for less than $.99, though.
  • Hidden Fees: Yes, there are hidden fees. They are disclosed on the KDP pricing page, but why they are there is beyond me. There is a delivery fee that is built into the 70% royalty pricing that is based on megabytes used to transfer the file to the purchaser. The thing that strikes me odd about this is the fact that no matter if you are choosing the 35% or the 70% royalty option, it still takes the same amount of megabytes to transfer the file. It’s a sales technique where we make something seem better than it is, then we build something in that depletes your profit.
  • File Type: .Mobi
  • Available on: All Kindle devices and devices with the Kindle Application. The reason you need the Kindle application is because of the .Mobi file–you can’t read this on anything but a Kindle.
  • Price Match: They state that they do price match, but not to Smashwords. As far as I can tell, from my own experience, they don’t price match to anyone EXCEPT Barnes and Noble. One of my novels was free for a full month on Kobo and Google Play–Amazon never price matched it. If you want them to price match, you do need to be in the 35% royalty option, but if they don’t do it at all–it doesn’t really matter.
  • Countries Available:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Andorra
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Canada
    • France
    • Great Britain
    • Guernsey
    • Germany
    • Italy
    • Isle of Man
    • Jersey
    • Lichtenstein
    • Luxembourg
    • Monaco
    • San Marino
    • Switzerland
    • Spain
    • United States
    • Vatican City

Barnes and Noble: Pubit!/Nook Press

  • Royalties: 65% for books priced $2.99-$9.99; 40% for books priced $2.98-$.99, and also for books $10.00-$199.99 (who would ever pay nearly two hundred bucks for an e-book, though?). As with Amazon you cannot price your book lower than $.99.
  • Hidden Fees:None
  • File Type:Epub
  • Available on: Nook and all other epub accepting tablets and e-readers (AKA everything but Kindle).
  • Price Match: From what I’ve read they have the right to price match, but for the most part I haven’t seen that they do.
  • Countries Available: United States and the UK, but in their pricing statements it says that they can sell your e-book in any country in which they or their affiliates reside. I’m sure that they will be expanding what countries that they reach.

Google Play

  • Royalties: (I couldn’t figure this out on the Google Play website because it’s so poorly maintained. I had to Google it…wow) 54%
  • Hidden Fees: Ha, if there were some, you wouldn’t be able to find them. I couldn’t even find the royalties on their website…
  • File Type: .Epub
  • Available On: All devices with the ability to download the Google Play application.
  • Price Match: Oh, yes…and they have the right to lower your price to a “competitive” price that is lower than others in the market place. This is great coupled with Amazon’s price matching policy because technically through their policies they could go at war with each other until your book was listed for FREE on both.
  • Countries Available: Japan, US, South Korea, Brazil, India, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, and Germany.

Kobo

  • Royalties: 70% for all books $2.99-$12.99; 45% for all books priced under $2.98-$.01. Yes! You can price under $.99–you can even price your book for FREE without falling into the monopoly trap that Amazon offers with KDP.
  • Hidden Fees:None
  • File Type: .Epub
  • Available: On all devices that take an .Epub file without the requirement for an application. This flows with their “ready freely” policy.
  • Price Match: Yes, price matching will occur on the price in the same country that the lower price is found at.
  • Countries Available: 200+ countries, including, but not limited to:
     
     
    Canada
     
    United States
     
    United Kingdom
     
    Australia
     
    New Zealand
     
    Austria
     
    Belgium
     
    Bulgaria
     
    Cyprus
     
    Czech Republic
     
    Denmark
     
    Estonia
     
    Finland
     
    France
     
    Germany
     
    Greece
     
    Hungary
     
    Italy
     
    Latvia
     
    Lithuania
     
    Luxembourg
     
    Malta
     
    Netherlands
     
    Poland
     
    Portugal
  •  
    Romania
     
    Slovakia
     
    Slovenia
     
    Spain
     
    Sweden
     
    Singapore
     
    Hong Kong

iBookStore

Based on my research you get 70% royalties

Smashwords

Upwards of 35% royalties, depending on the channels you choose.

Paperback Distribution Channels

It’s true that many still love the feeling of good ole’ print, but it’s not always needed. It really is a personal preference whether or not you choose to be available in print–many indie authors are no longer given this choice with their small publishers. This is because many small publishers are choosing to forgo print all together. Lucky me, I don’t have to forgo anything because I am self-published. That being said you can’t really lose if you choose to have a paperback available–depending on the channel by which you choose to make it available and the choices that you choose. There are two major choices out in the industry now, and I will give you my research on the two.

CreateSpace (an Amazon Subsidiary)

The great thing about CreateSpace is the fact that it’s completely free to use. There is a learning curve, and there is much time that has to be devoted to the formatting of the novel so that it will print correctly. If you want a paperback available you will have to be willing to spend at least 6 hours the first time you try to format your book in between covers and interior, along with reviewing proofs, etc.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. I myself have my word files set up to be formatted for paperback, then I reformat them for e-book. The reason I do this is simple: e-book formatting is far easier than paperback formatting.

  • Costs: The costs associated with CreateSpace and minimal and are based on preferences. Your book is available to be listed on Amazon for free. When a customer orders the paperback from Amazon you don’t have to pay for anything–you just take your cut of the profits. Thus, this really is a win-win situation. The cost for the actual book if you should choose to purchase paperbacks for your own resale are reasonable to me.  There is a wholesale option, but you have to order a massive amount of books for that discount to occur. Your cost to purchase books to sell yourself depends on the options that you choose–page color, book size, amount of pages of your novel, etc. All of my books cost me less than $5.00 a piece. The shipping is fairly reasonable as well– $3.00 for the first book and $.50 extra for each book thereafter. Paperbacks are a great marketing tool for giveaways and getting your name out there at local schools and libraries. Plus, they are just so nifty!
  • Royalties: The calculation method for royalties isn’t as easy to understand for paperbacks as it is for e-books, the reason being is that there are actual tangible costs involved. It’s written as this: your price-CreateSpace share=your royalty. CreateSpace share is: sales channel percentage + fixed charged + per page charge. So in other words, it’s easier to just use their royalty calculator here.
  • Other Fee’ed options: Expanded Distribution (Ingram prints) where you pay $25 per book (and any time you update the book) and you get “expanded” distribution where your book can be available on other websites (but not their physical stores) i.e. Barnes and Noble, and is available to schools and libraries. That is how they pitch it. My way of looking at it is this: If a school/library wants my book they can buy it directly from me because I have it formatted with an LCCN. I have my paperback available on my website via paypal. With the expanded distribution, because there is another person taking a cut too, the royalties are very minimal–think cents. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever make the $25 back, unless you get as big as say Jessica Sorenson. At that point the $25 will be nothing. They also provide “marketing” services along with promotional printing services at obscene prices.
  • Price Match: Not applicable because they are the ones printing your book.
  • Countries Available: United States and Europe (UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and France)–this is nice. I’ve actually had a person on Europe buy my book. I thought it was my best friend–but it wasn’t. So cool!!!

Lightning Source

I don’t use Lightning Source, so I have fairly little information on it. I will fill you in on my research, but I find that first-hand experience is the best tell of how beneficial something is to an individual. Lightning Source is the primary source of print books for smaller independent presses. It works the same as CreateSpace in the way that it’s a Print On  Demand (POD) service. What’s nice is the fact that they also have hardcovers available, which CreateSpace does not. It also appears that they use Ingram as well for their distribution options.

  • Cost: $12.00/year/book, but unlike Amazon this fee is based on the fact that they merely distribute to others. They don’t have a store that they operate–they send your files to those associated with Ingram–including Amazon. As with Amazon you pay nothing for the books to be printed for those that order them, only if you order them yourself. It appears that the costs to order them for yourself are much the same as Amazon, but you get far more print options (Covers, Binding, Hardback, Paperback and Color options). If you are thinking about Amazon’s expanded distribution–you might want skip CreateSpace and do Lightning Source. It really looks like you will get more bang for your buck–this is only if they pay for your ISBN. If you have to pay for this as well then you might as well stick with CreateSpace because the cost of the ISBN versus the cost of Expanded Distribution is quite different and leans towards Expanded Distribution.
  • Royalties: Lightning Source collects the wholesale book price, deducts the cost of the book and gives the remainder to the publisher (you). There are no royalties involved because they are a printing company.
  • Price Match: Not Applicable, they sell your book for your list price to those retailers that buy it.
  • Countries Available: They work with 30,000 retailers in 100+ countries.

Just One Cup will be available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and paperback. Note that I’ve decided due to the lack of sales and general idiocy of it’s set up to not do Google Play. The set up was such a hassle that it’s not worth usage on any further titles. I will also be doing a paperback version of my novel via CreateSpace until I have more information on Lightning Source. From my current level of research I can see Lightning Source as being an excellent option, with the exception of one thing. It’s not clear whether or not they assign a free ISBN or if you have to pay to purchase one. CreateSpace gives you a free ISBN, to the tune of $125.00, thus if you have to purchase an ISBN for Lightning Source and are just looking for paperbacks, you might want to stick with CreateSpace. I must say that Lightning Sources options of matte or gloss finish covers, along with the option for hardbacks is a tempting one, and I hope in the future that CreateSpace expands its options to at least include matte or gloss finishes.

I recently did a write up that may be of interest to you if you’re looking at the four different e-book distribution channels that I have discussed. In the write-up I did an in-depth pro and cons of my experience with each of the four channels. You can check out the article Extending Your Reach here.

Where to Promote Your Novel

  • Goodreads: This is a great place to meet readers, network and to meet the precious bloggers. This is a website that you should take advantage of by making your presence known–not only by talking about your book, but by interacting with other readers and authors. I warn against using this site soley as a place to put SPAM about yourself. You should truly interact with readers and not only about your book. You should show that you want to have an active role in the reading community, not only as an author and businessperson, but as a person who loves the written word.

  • LibraryThing: I’m going to be honest with you, I no longer use this website. I have my own personal reasons for doing so, but it is a website that was recommended to me from reading around the internet. I don’t find it as user friendly as Goodreads, and I’ve had some bad experiences on there with other users. You might want to look into it, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it as a place to promote your book or yourself. You might find yourself as shark bait, no matter how active you are.

  • Facebook: This used to be the bane of my existence, but I must admit that it’s been an essential and good marketing tool for getting word out there. I don’t suggest it for personal use, but as an author it’s a great place to put yourself and allow your readers to do the work for you. It’s a great word-of-mouth marketing tool that is easy for your readers to use to spread the word. I believe that is why it is so effective.

  • Blog: Create a blog, be honest on it, share things about yourself, writing and your readers–make it interesting, give people a reason to come back to your blog again and again. This means you should do more than just talk about how wonderful you are. You should interact with your readers, give your insights, share some (thin line here) personal information and give other authors a chance to shine on your blog.

  • Website: I use my website as pure promotion of my novels. There is nothing on there about anything else–that’s what my blog is for.

  • Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn and other social media:Experiment–see what works best for you and then rock it. Let us know how it works while you’re at it…Some one other than me might be just as inapt at social media, and I know I’d appreciate your thoughts on these other outlets. ;)

Sales: The Preemptive Strike

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The Preemptive Strike

This is usually terminology saved for war–it’s a surprise attack on the enemy to prevent them from doing the same to you. It’s being prepared and launching an attack before the enemy knows what hits them. War and sales, may not mesh, but at times being an author and war seem to mesh perfectly. Writing is an internal battle all in itself–what I’m writing, do I really want someone else to read? Of course, I do I’m a writer! That’s not always the case, at least not with me. There’s things that I have written that I dare to never share with anyone else, mostly poetry. See poetry has been the bane of my existence since I became a published author. Why? I think that prose and deep inner monologue that runs forever–the concept of telling vs showing–should be saved for poetry. I find that deepness can be shared equally with dialogue and actions. I don’t always write what’s going on in my head, nor do I expect all of my characters to divulge this information, nor do they. The war that resides in writing seems to be with pleasing everyone. I woke up today, got a really bad review and guess what, for the first time ever I was able to suck it up, roll my eyes and go on with my day. Why? Maybe it was the preemptive strike in my head. I knew it was coming–of course, it was coming. I knew it when I wrote In Between Seasons, but when it came I was still floored. Walking in the Shadows WASN’T the same, though. Why? I know it’s good. Yeah, that’s right I said it. My preemptive strike is confidence. I’m learning each time I get a review–a pattern I’ve noticed is that some people are never happy, and second of all, if you don’t write on your front page that you had an editor, some assume you didn’t. Then they, with whatever expertise they think they have, try to rip to shreds your editing. Nice try. Come back later. My preemptive strike is having an editor and not saying that I do. (Well, most of you know that I do by now…but some readers won’t and don’t). The reality is that writing shouldn’t be a battle, and the war shouldn’t be with others. This is a passion, a dream that I am trying to live out to the fullest. My preemptive strike is realizing now and knowing that I can’t please everyone. I should think that a preemptive strike should be a statement of preparedness over a strike of war. The previously stated preemptive strikes have everything to do with the war of being in an industry that is meant to bully and strike back at you. I know it sounds awful but in an opinion based industry where everyone who is literate enough to write a 50 sentence review can demolish your 50,000+ word novel for misspelling one word, it’s a truth. My preemptive strike is knowing that I’m not perfect. Guess what? I don’t expect anyone else to be, at least not until robots start writing the novels for us. That will be a sad day anyways. These are preemptive strikes that emotionally prepare you to be a writer. I’ve found another type of preemptive strike is an amazing marketing tool for a novel. My preemptive strike is showing you sneak peeks that make you want to come back for more each week until the day where you can click ‘buy’. This is one of the most important strikes in marketing that you can get. It’s a teaser that creates an audience that you may not have been aware that you have, and it gets people talking. I tested the water with this strategy when I started writing Deadly Sins, and it was working very well until I got side tracked with Just One Cup. I am honing my skill with Facebook and my blog with the preemptive strike of Just One Cup. It seems to be working well, too. I am getting a great response with the targeted advertisements on Facebook which I only put up there, and then the ones that I share on here and there. I didn’t think that Facebook would help, but I honestly have to admit that with preemptive strikes it’s an excellent weapon. My preemptive strike is using Facebook as a tool of mass book love distribution. I put sneak peeks as a write on Facebook for the fans that follow me on there and then every Wednesday my blog readers get one as well. It’s building anticipation not only for readers but for me! As a writer you can use the preemptive strike to not only build an audience, but also as a tool to stand above the industry.

Above all else:

The preemptive strike is a tool to help you survive.

Extending Your Reach

You’ve published your novel! Congrats! You have it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, now what’s next? Both of these retailers are great and will give you a generous reach to all over the world, but they don’t get everyone or to every device. After a few months of selling on both, but mostly Amazon, I saw an advertisement on Goodreads for Google Play. Now, if you have been following my blog for sometime you probably already know how amazingly arduous getting on Google Play was. I was astounded that such a large company would be so poorly set up to accept novels from publishers and authors. The whole system is archaic. Where it took me all of five minutes to get on Amazon and B&N it took me nearly TWO months to get on Google Play and countless emails. There was a bit of embarrassment involved in that one, too. I normally save my temper for my saint like husband (Jeff you’re amazing), but when I sent a email to the “Help Section” and immediately received an auto response back that said  “Emails to this inbox no longer are answered…blah blah” I went bonkers. I figured no one would ever see it. I hit the caps key and wrote something to the tune that the system was useless and archaic and it was ridiculous that I couldn’t get anyone to help me, etc. Imagine my shock when someone answered the email saying that it was a glitch in the system that the auto response was received and that they were working on my problem ASAP. They did fix it, but boy-oh-boy was it annoying. So there I was on Amazon, B&N and Google Play (and after all that annoyance I still haven’t sold one book on Google Play) and wondering where else I could branch out. I wanted to get on the Apple store, but unfortunately you have to have an e-ISBN and you have to pay $125 for one. I don’t have that kind of money and if you have an iDevice the Kindle application can be downloaded so in the end I wasn’t too worried about that. My answer to getting to more places came in the form of a blog post from the awesome, Candace Knoebel, or maybe it was just something I saw on her blog, either way it mentioned something called Kobo. I knew that the Kobo had been associated with the somewhat recently bankrupted Borders–I didn’t know it still existed. I have to say that Kobo is my favorite interface for uploading and viewing reports for your books. The reach that Kobo gives you is fantastic–it covers a large amount of countries with all the same royalties and BETTER royalties than Amazon. Amazon has been steadily adding more countries to their selling base, but they are using their “KDP Select” ploy on the royalties for those new countries. What I mean by this is, normally where you would make 70% royalties you only make 35% unless you enroll in Select. They also dropped their royalties for books priced under 2.99 to 35% totally instead of 40%. That might not seem like a large drop, but when you have a book selling for $1.99 or less it’s annoying in itself because you don’t make much anyways. Let’s compare the e-book venues I have mentioned:

Amazon Pros:

  • Kindle appears to be one of the most popular selling e-readers on the market–I have the Fire myself and I know it’s a quality product at a great price
  • Easy upload
  • Easy choices for what countries you want to sell in
  • Choice of DRM
  • Choice of allowing “sharing” or “lending” of your novel for up to 14 days to other readers
  • You can download the mobi file onto your computer for easy sharing with those that win in raffles, R2R in book groups, etc.
  • 70% Royalties on all books priced over $2.99
  • Print on Demand options with subsidy CreateSpace (which I have had few problems with)
  • The cross selling that happens on the book page for “suggestions” and “other readers who bought this also bought”. This gives your book more visibility. I was kind of freaked out when the under “other books like this” I saw 50 Shades of Gray because that’s 50 Shades Darker than wrong. There is nothing about my books or writing that in any way reflects E.L. James. You know why I’ll take it? If someone buys my book because it shows up under one of the most popular selling books–that’s pretty sweet!

Amazon Neutral Points:

  • Reaches: USA, India, France, DE (Denmark?), ES (Spain?), Italy, Japan and Canada The reason for the ? is because it only says that and the shorthand isn’t one that can be clarified on a Google Search
  • Reports are able to be downloaded in Excel, but frankly the report setup sucks, so I don’t use it at all
  • Easy reviewing of reports with one click, but the reports take at least 3 days to update
  • Amazon doesn’t tell you were your sales occurred (what country)
  • Amazon only shows reviews posted on their websites
  • KDP newsletter, sometimes helpful, sometimes not–it honestly seems to be a giant advertisement for KDP Select

Amazon Cons:

  • KDP Select, that’s right I said it. KDP Select is a con. Why? Because it means I have to remove my book from the shelves of all other vendors until the three months is up. For three months no one that has a Nook, Kobo, tablet or other e-reader can buy my book because pretty much the only e-reader that supports Amazon’s mobi files are Amazon’s e-readers. This speaks strongly to the creation of a monopoly, which doesn’t set well with me
  • You can’t sell your books for free unless you use the above mentioned select
  • The recent, without notification (I’m sure I clicked something that said that I agree that they don’t have to notify me, but it still would have been nice for a quick e-mail. They e-mail me enough times a week to try to get me to sign up for KDP Select) change of royalties under the $2.99 range from %40 to %35
  • Price matching issues. I’ve had this every single time I’ve run a promotion where I lowered the price on all venues. I update the regular selling price on all of the venues besides Amazon first, and then I update Amazon to the regular, higher price. I watch and two hours later Amazon has decided to price match to an imaginary store because guess what, all the other stores are already showing the updated price and THEY still price matched. I then have to email them to correct it, and they chastise me with some generic form letter e-mail that it wasn’t that when they looked at it. Well, yes, machine or human, whatever you are, it was. I checked first
  • No capability to “gift” your book for free even though you’re the author. That’s right if I want to send my novel via Amazon to a reader for free I have to pay for it. Granted I get some of it back, but I still have to give them either 65% or 30% for it
  • Kindle is no longer available at major retailers like Target. It is still available at Staples–I think
  • Amazon is now becoming notorious for removing good reviews from their website if they deem that you have too many five stars
  • The algorithm that made KDP Select so great, the one that placed your book on lots of lists when it was free and got you attention was changed so that the second you are out of KDP Select all your sales reset so you aren’t on those lists anymore

B&N Pros:

  • This is the next most popular e-reader. I know a lot of people who love the paper flipping feature of their Nooks.
  • Easy upload (not as easy as Amazon though)
  • Categories are better than Amazon for genre
  • Choice of DRM
  • The interface of the system is better looking and easier to manage than Amazon
  • Easy to understand reports that show monthly, daily and yesterdays sales
  • Ability to add editorial reviews to the book description

B&N Neutral Points:

  • They have a flat royalty of 40% no matter what your price point is (Oh, look at that it used to be 45%). I say this is neutral because at least you know what you get no matter what

B&N Cons:

  • I honestly don’t sell many books on here. I don’t know if it’s because Amazon has already taken a hold of the market or what. It seems maybe Amazon is better at publicizing their self-pubbed works
  • Awesome “grab-me” button to display on your website
  • There isn’t a “books like” or any other cross promotion features like Amazon has
  • Fewer reviews get posted on here
  • Availability is restricted to USA and newly added UK
  • No print book capability

Google Play Pros:

  • Another way to reach more readers
  • The steady expansion of their product line
  • You get money from ads

Google Play Neutral Points:

  • The Google Play website is “eh” as far as navigatibility
  • Reaches: US, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Australia, India, UK, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Russia and Germany (you may be thinking that should be a pro–wow!, look at the cons and you will know why this is a neutral point)
  • Shows some but not all reviews from Goodreads. This is nice because a lot of readers just post reviews on Goodreads and not anywhere else

Google Cons:

  • It’s almost impossible to figure out what website and where to sign up as a publisher or author
  • I had to bookmark the sign-on page because it’s so deeply hidden in their website
  • Takes FOREVER to load
  • I understand it’s a Beta, but it’s so archaic!
  • You have to activate and set sales prices for every single individual territory; unlike Amazon or Kobo there is no easy select all, pre-load for the US conversion button. Thus, anytime you update the price you have to update it a trillion times and try to figure out what the conversion rate is yourself and with the system being so slow and outdated it takes forever
  • I can’t even figure out what my royalties are, which isn’t too bad because I haven’t sold anything on there!
  • The upload system is awful. You first have to upload it to the “preview” system so that readers can preview a certain amount of the book, then you have to go into a different section to put it up for sale. All other sites you are able to upload your cover easily as a secondary file–here nope!
  • Setting up payment accounts was a total pain
  • No cover page shows
  • You can’t rate the books unless you have Goodreads, which not everyone has or wants to go through the trouble of setting up to review books
  • Help tools stink
  • Getting a hold of someone is astoundingly difficult
  • They have the right, and enforce it, to lower the price of your book without your consent or previous notification. You still get royalties as if it was priced at the price you selected, though, so that was the “plus” I was told about when I emailed them to ask why one of my novels was at the odd price of $3.19 instead of $3.99. Okay, that’s well and good, but NOT when Amazon is so strictly and absolutely employing their price matching strategy–meaning, all of a sudden these two websites could be going at it with each other on the pricing of your book in trying to monopolize the market
  • No print book capability

Kobo Pros:

  • Oh, Kobo how you have become my new favorite. They proved how the little things can really matter with this awesome email that made my day:

Congrats!

  • Easy, super easy, sign up
  • Easy, super easy, upload
  • Great genre category choices
  • Integrates with Goodreads reviews, but ALSO allows the reader to rate the book 1-5 stars. (There isn’t a review feature)
  • Ability to rate books 1-5 stars without writing a review. This is a nice feature because not every reader has the time, nor wants to write a long-winded or even short review
  • Instant upload–like two seconds and WALA!
  • Converting of files–if you only have mobi, no problem–they will convert it, if you have word, pdf, epub–no problem they upload that, too!
  • Large selection of e-readers at different price points
  • Easy, user friendly buying website. They sell e-readers and e-books and that’s it. They have a target market and they stick to it. They don’t have too many hands in too many pots. They can be the expert this way
  • Kobo Writing Life Dashboard is amazing–why? Reports are easy to view, sales are easy to view, you can see what countries your sales are in and this map made my day because it proved something: I AM reaching readers ALL over the globe thanks to them (AUSTRIA! AWESOME!):
  • Country SalesDRM and Graphics Rights are available
  • Extending your reach is based on the payment form, not the country: US dollar, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen, Hong Kong Dollar, New Zealand Dollar. This means a huge reach
  • Kobo is working on extending it’s market and it’s reach. It seems to be a company that has a lot of growth potential and is getting there. I’ve sold 6 copies this month on there, where I sold 2 on BN, a far larger company
  • Royalties are: 70% from 2.99 and 40% for all lower. It’s the same for all countries, too. No monopoly there.
  • You can sell your book for FREE, no strings attached. Click SELL FOR FREE and you’re good
  • Great monthly newsletter
  • Great Blog–it helped me find PressBooks!

Kobo Neutral Points:

  • It had some difficulty uploading my latest book because it’s illustrated, but the work around was to use the mobi file. (I still haven’t figured out the work around for BN). I am still waiting for the file to be approved because if you do a mobi upload they have to approve it somehow on their end where epub is instant. I’m not sure if Word and PDF are because I had the epub for my novels so I didn’t try

Kobo Cons:

  • I’m obviously a fan of their e-book processing. I haven’t used their e-readers, so I am not sure how they are. Have you? Let me know how the quality is
  • No print book function, but no one but Amazon has this either. It doesn’t bug as much with them because as I said, they are an e-marketplace period

That’s the end of my rant–did it help you at all? I hope so because it took a long time to write!!! Do you have any pros and cons to add that would help other readers and authors?