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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Authors Must Find a Balance Between Writing and Marketing

    This is a quick PSA for indie authors in regard to finding the right blend of writing and marketing their book list. If an author spends too much time on social media instead of finishing the next manuscript or adding posts to a said blog, for example, nothing will ever get done. I fell in this trap when I was on Twitter trying to direct people to my blog or Amazon page with tweets, or I spent too much of my time interacting with fellow writers instead of working on my book. The time I wasted on Twitter only yielded me a handful of book sales at best, so I cancelled my account and focused more on writing.

    Conversely, spending too much time on writing and neglecting the marketing aspect of self-publishing won’t sell any books either. An indie author is like a small business owner who has to wear every single hat to be successful. I found my niche in marketing through pay-per-click advertising on Amazon and Google because I suck at social media. I’m also becoming proficient at blogging as writing blog posts are my primary means of interacting with the public.

    Balancing my time with the writing and marketing of my books is a work in progress. One has to constantly tweak the sales funnel in an ever-changing writer’s climate by staying on top of what techniques work and what techniques to eighty-six. My book marketing business wasn’t built in a day as an author must be willing to labor through the peaks and valleys of self-publishing in order to be a bestselling indie author.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

My Thoughts on the 2021 Giants vs. Dodgers Playoff Series

    First of all, I want to put out the disclaimer that I’m neither a San Francisco Giants nor Los Angeles Dodgers fan, so I don’t have a horse in this race. However, even though this series was very entertaining, I have a problem with the two best teams squaring off in the best-of-five League Division Series (LDS), and a have a major problem with the Dodgers being in the one-game wild-card playoff after winning 106 games during the regular season because they finished second in the division behind the Major League leading Giants, who won 107 games. What if the Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in that elimination game?

Major League Pitcher

    This was reminiscent of the 1993 San Francisco Giants, who won 103 games and came in second place in the division behind the Atlanta Braves, who won 104 games that year, and one wild card team from each league was added to the playoffs the following year because of this. Major League Baseball is faced with a similar situation here in 2021, and the solution is to place less weight on winning the division as all divisions aren’t created equal. The NBA did away with a division winner getting a top seed in the playoffs in the 2015-16 season as seeds are solely based on record alone, and the only thing that winning the division guarantees is garnering a playoff spot only. The same adjustment must be made in baseball to keep a level playing field, so to speak.

    I’m not taking anything away from the Atlanta Braves or Milwaukee Brewers this year, but I along with many other baseball enthusiasts wanted to see the two best teams in the league have a fair shot at playing in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). It’s good for the fans and better for baseball in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

First Update on My New Book Release Titled Vanished

    I’m at the halfway point of my new book titled Vanished, a story about a guy named Darius who’s very distraught because his fiancée, Ashley, had gone missing at the beginning of the summer on the southside of Chicago. He had spent weeks looking for her to no avail, as mounting evidence on the surface had suggested that she was abducted by someone. However, Darius would soon learn from the police that the abduction was staged, but why?

    I don’t have a clear-cut release date for Vanished yet, but customers will be able to pre-order the Kindle eBook version on Amazon starting in March of 2022. Once this book is finished, I will begin my editing process. The first step of this editing process consists of the designing of the book cover, and the final step is the proofreading and formatting of the manuscript. Once the editing process is completed, readers can pre-order Vanished for $3.99 before the official launch date. Stay tuned for more updates.


Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

    I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit for most of my adult life. I realized after I graduated college that working for someone else was never going to make me truly happy, no matter how much money a particular job paid me. I’ve always wanted to own a business, but the problem was I had no special skills or money to start one back in the day. And my credit was bad. Writing books wasn’t something I wanted to do at first because I didn’t see the money in it, and besides that, the Internet hadn’t been created yet. The only way to get a book deal in the 90s was to beg the traditional publishing houses for a contract, and this could take years to accomplish. I wasn’t afraid of rejection, but I didn’t want someone else to determine my fate, either.

    Fast forward to 2005 when I worked a dead-end job that barely paid me enough to make ends meet. Nights of fatigue and frustration helped propel me into a writing career on the side that year, but my skill level was amateurish at best. It took many years to perfect my craft to the best of my ability, but I realized early on that there would always be authors who were much more talented than I was. Getting a publishing contract at the time was too far out of reach for me, and I wasn’t willing to wait years to get signed by someone because my back was against the wall. I knew nothing about self-publishing but making money on the Internet intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Thirteen years and numerous setbacks later, I finally made a profit writing books in 2019.

The Pros of Self-Publishing.

    I can’t describe the joy I felt when I finally started making money writing. It was a long time coming and a sense of accomplishment because I put blood, sweat, and tears into being an indie author. The biggest advantage of being independent is being my own boss―I publish what I want, when I want, and how I want. I’m not saying this to boast―I still have a nine-to-five job so I still have to follow directives every day. However, there’s a tiny space that I call my own where I don’t have to follow someone’s orders or listen to anyone’s opinions on how I should maneuver around, and it feels good to have a steady supplemental income that I’ve created.

    For example, I prefer to write short stories and novellas even though I’ve written three full-length books because readers tend to buy books that are cheaper and shorter from authors who aren’t well known and buy more books from those type of authors at a later date if they like what they read from them. Publishing houses don’t back writers who specialize in writing short stories, so I would’ve been on my own whether I wanted to be or not. My bestselling book is a short story titled The Root of All Evil―it’s an 83-page novella that currently has 200 reviews with a 4.5 rating. I sell anywhere from 100 to 150 books of this title every month.

Publishing House

    Another example is the fact that I’m better at pay-per-click advertising than I am at social media. I use Amazon Advertising and Google AdWords to promote my books as opposed to trying to promote them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’ve always been a loner, so trying to connect with people on social media was counterproductive because in my mind, I can utilize my time better when I’m writing.

    The last example I have is that I prefer to use my own pictures when creating a book cover for my novels.  I don’t know exactly how things are ran in a publishing house―I would imagine that an author has some input in how the book cover should look, but ultimately, the publisher probably has the final say because they’re the ones putting up the money to market and promote the book. I want a book that I’ve written to reflect my vision of the story, not someone else’s vision, and I always hire the same freelance graphic designer to bring that vision to life.

The Cons of Self-Publishing.

    The old adage with great power comes great responsibility rings true when it comes to self-publishing a book. Everything falls upon the indie author to promote a book―book cover design, proofreading, editing, and marketing to name a few things. It’s not uncommon for a traditional publisher to pay an author an advance of anywhere from $5000 to $20000 to write a book, and an established author can expect as much as a $50,000 advance whereas an indie author has to come out of pocket for every single expense―a self-published author is literally a small business entrepreneur.

    For example, the cost of a book cover design and the proofreading and editing of a paperback and an eBook can cost an author thousands of dollars before the book is even published, and marketing of that book will also cost the author thousands of dollars each month. Lightning doesn’t strike too often for an indie author’s first book, so one has to write multiple books in order to start seeing a monthly profit in book sales.

    In conclusion, an indie author can’t have an employee mindset and expect to become successful at writing. A business mindset and perseverance are the two key ingredients needed to sell books on the Internet independently, and the rewards are great for those authors who are willing to put their noses to the grindstone.

Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

     I can remember how excited I was like it were yesterday when my first book titled What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner ...