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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Book Review: This Game Has No Loyalty II by June

    More drama unfolded as Junior was arrested but never charged with Drez’s murder―the guy who tried to murder him after his right-hand man, La, set him up. La was also presumed dead, but the police weren’t privy to that information. Their only concern was pinning Drez’s murder on Junior, but he didn’t cave into the pressure. The police eventually had to release him because they had no real evidence against him, but his problems had only just begun.

    Meanwhile, KB was recovering from the wounds that he sustained from the robbery at the nightclub―Junior’s side chick Muffin had shot him and incited a riot afterward. Gloria had realized that her best friend and Junior's main girl, Shondra, had betrayed her by trying to pump her for info about KB the entire time so that she could set him up to be killed by Junior, who wanted KB dead for a botched robbery and attempt on his life in the Baptiste housing project.

    Book 2 delivers a knockout punch just like the first one did, as it was action-packed from start to finish. Sex, drugs, fast money, murder, and betrayal are par for the course here―the players involved grow up fast and die young in this tale as opportunities in this section of Brooklyn are scare. I really enjoyed reading June’s second installment and look forward to the third volume of the series. 

    My Rating: ★★★★★

 This Game Has No Loyalty Part II - Hustle for Life by [JUNE]

 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

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 City? was published. About fifty of my closest friends and family attended the book signing, and my wife catered the food. Even the bishop of my church at the time also came to the book signing and even allowed me to sell some copies at the church afterward. It was an extravaganza to remember for many years to come, and I made a lot of money at the signing as well as selling my book to some of my coworkers. I was indeed well on my way to being a bestselling author, or so I thought. Boy, I was naïve to say the least.

    The momentum that I generated was short-lived, and reality set in for me very quickly. I didn’t become an overnight sensation like I had originally planned because I was old news before my Amazon page showed up in the Google search engine results. Basically, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, if that makes any sense. However, I did learn five basic truths about self-publishing that I wish I knew before I got started.

 Stay Away from Vanity Publishers.

    Vanity publishers suck. They take all the money and leave the heavy lifting to the author. I won’t drop any names because I’m not in the business of trashing a company’s reputation, but I used a vanity publisher back in the day and lost hundreds of dollars without making any semblance of a profit. They give authors the illusion that they will promote their books, but the fact of the matter is self-published authors have the sole responsibility of managing their own book promotion. One rule of thumb for new writers is to never pay a publishing company to publish a book―a real publisher will give an author a cash advance if they feel that a book has the potential to be profitable.

 Avoid Using Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

    Authors are guaranteed to lose their shirts trying to pay for traffic for a website or blog if they lack experience in internet marketing. Books have a low profit margin―especially if the books are fiction―and it’s virtually impossible for fiction authors to make a profit via pay-per-click advertising companies like Google AdWords or Microsoft Advertising, for example. Unknown authors will have a hard time selling their own books from a website or blog, and prior to Amazon’s advertising platform for authors, authors as a whole weren’t making a lot of money using pay-per-click advertising. Conversely, Amazon Advertising had dramatically changed the game for authors like me and allowed us to make a profit exhibiting our books because customers automatically come to the Amazon marketplace with the intent to buy.

Create a Blog.

    I kick myself for not creating my blog sooner. I only spent eleven months in the Google sandbox before I started receiving organic traffic on a daily basis, and if I had created my blog fifteen years ago, I’d have one of the most popular sites on the Internet with well over a thousand posts under my belt. Chronicling my writing experiences back then would’ve helped catapult me to the next level in the self-publishing game much sooner.

 Hire a Team of Freelancers.

    Vanity publishers bank on new authors’ ignorance and capitalize by charging outrageous prices when it comes to book cover design, proofreading, editing, and formatting of books. An author must do his or her due diligence and seek out freelancers on the Web who provide these services for a fraction of the cost that these vanity publishing companies charge. Fiverr is a great place to start, and I only wish that they were around when I first started writing.

Limit Time on Social Media.

    I spent entirely too much time trying to market my books on sites like Facebook and Twitter in the past, and this took away from the time that I could’ve spent writing. I’m an introvert by nature and don’t enjoy wasting my time soliciting people to follow me or buy my books, so I removed myself from social media altogether and focused solely on writing books and posts on my blog.  

    There’s no one-size-fits-all type of self-publishing handbook that anyone can follow and achieve success because everyone’s situation is different. My job is to help new authors avoid some of the pitfalls that plagued me starting out, and I sincerely hope that this article will help make things a little easier when it comes to authors striking out on their own and trying to make things happen in the self-publishing world.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

An Author Needs a Team of Freelancers to Create a Book

    It’s a good thing for an author to be proficient in any of the steps of creating a book but not at the expense of giving up quality to save a dollar. For example, some authors are experts in graphic design and constructing a book cover is a breeze for them. I met a writer via Twitter awhile back, and her specialty was mixing stock images together to produce great-looking book covers. Composing book covers isn’t my talent, so I gladly pay a freelance graphic designer that I found on Fiverr to design my book covers for me. However, proofreading a book is my strong suit and how I save money in this process.

Graphic Design Techniques

    There are three main steps that I take in order to polish up my work and make it available for sale on Amazon―book cover design, proofreading, and formatting of eBook and paperback books. Many self-published authors may go all out and register their books with the Library of Congress or spend thousands of dollars on hiring a mainstream copy editor, but I prefer to keep things simple and not fret over particular details. Though not the only source on the Internet, I’m able to employ my team of freelancers through Fiverr to enhance each one of my books for no more than $150 on average. This entire process takes less than week before I’m ready to upload my finished product on Amazon’s publishing platform.

    An author can present a quality book that’s free of errors without spending a great deal of money. The bulk of my spending is in graphic design and formatting, but I’m able to complete the second step of production myself because my proofreading technique is 99.99% effective in generating a manuscript free of typos and grammatical mistakes. I’m confident to say that the proof is in the pudding, and my Amazon book reviews are a direct reflection of it.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

I’ve Been Blogging for 11½ Months and Learned This

    It’s been a year since I’ve created the blog titled The Indie Crime Novelist, and I’ve discovered a few things along the way. My intent for this blog was to promote my books and also help new authors get started in the self-publishing industry by sharing my fifteen plus years of knowledge in writing. Blogging has been a challenging but rewarding experience, and I’m just starting to see the fruits of my labor.

Downtown Chicago

    There’s a theory floating around on the Internet that suggests new bloggers and website owners will endure being in the Google Sandbox for a limited amount of time due to the newness of their blogs and websites. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I can say that it took eleven months and sixty-three articles written before I began to witness growth in organic traffic to my blog. Prior to that, I was receiving a lot of bot traffic from various countries, but it all came to a halt about a month ago. My site is slowly gaining traction, and all of my plans for this blog are coming to fruition.

    I’d like to personally thank all of my subscribers for supporting this blog as I enter into my first year of writing articles that I hope are interesting as well as informative. Stay tuned for more posts and fiction books to come.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Traveling to Other Places Can Help an Author’s Writing

    An author who hasn’t traveled both domestic and abroad is limited in capability as far as writing a novel is concerned. One can only effectively write about things that he or she has experienced in life, or else the narrative will lack authenticity and substance. Three of my books are based in Atlanta―a city that I was blessed to visit fifteen years ago. I was there for about a week and was able to experience downtown Atlanta and its surrounding areas. Google Maps helped me remember certain parts of the city that I caught a glimpse of and filled in the gaps of the sections of Atlanta that I didn’t get a chance to see as I was able to envision the full scope of this southern environment while creating my three-part urban fiction series a few years ago.

Downtown Atlanta

    This, in turn, allowed me to construct a plot centered around a group of college students who went to an HBCU in the heart of Atlanta without actually being a resident of that city. I’ve also spent a great deal of time in places like Houston, New Orleans, and St. Louis, for example, and some of my storylines reflect some of those experiences. Even though the majority of my books are centered around the city of Chicago, traveling to other cities has helped me expand my horizons and improve my writing skills.

    A setting can be limited to only one area and still be an exciting plot but traveling to different regions of the country as well as other countries in the world can ultimately create a theme that makes a reader not want to put a particular book down because it's the details that make or break a story. Visiting other cities enabled me to add zest to the setting of each one of my novels and short stories, and that seasoning was what attracted readers to purchase more titles from my bibliography.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The Three Secrets in Marketing That Has Helped Me Sell a Lot of Books

     The marketing aspect of being an indie author is just as important as writing a good book. In fact, I may be slightly better at marketing than I am at writing because I know exactly what my strengths are as well as my weaknesses when it comes to effectively promoting my work to the reading public. Unlike writing, where an author isn’t always one hundred percent sure that readers will like a new book after it’s launched, marketing methods that are tried and true will undoubtedly stand the test of time and yield consistent sales every month. There are three little-known methods that I use to sell my books each month, and through trial and error, I’ve earned on average $500 in net profit monthly since the implementation of these methods.

 Asking Readers for Book Reviews.

    It’s a painstaking task to receive book reviews from customers because it’s against Amazon’s rules to pay for them, and only a fraction of readers will rate or leave a review for books. This dynamic can leave authors in a catch-22 situation―authors need reviews to generate sales, but authors won’t sell many books without the reviews that are needed to sell them. However, the solution is simple―authors can thank readers for their support and ask them for reviews at the end of each eBook and paperback. It works!

 Changing the Book Cover of Stagnant Titles.

    Not every title of a portfolio will sell as much as an author’s best-selling book each month. My most profitable title was once at the bottom of the pile before I changed the cover―the first cover was cheesy-looking because of my modest marketing budget. Fortunately, I was able to get the next book cover professionally done from a freelance graphic artist on Fiverr, and it became my top moneymaker from that point on.

 Posting Amazon Ads Every Month.

     An author must set aside a monthly budget for posting Amazon ads, or else he or she won’t steadily sell books each and every month. This step is multifaceted―there’s an art to posting ads on Amazon. The rewards are abundant when done properly, but an author’s inexperience can and will exhaust his or hers advertising budget.

    The first step of placing an Amazon ad is to place every title under the same umbrella―say that an author has five books of the same genre, for example―all five books can be grouped together under the same ad with the same group of keywords. I’ve sold more books this way, and the book sales conversion rate is higher than its rate of advertising each title separately.

    The second step in this process is utilizing the Phrase Match option when Amazon placing ads. The Broad Match option yields too many unrelated keyword searches that will lower the conversion rate, and the Exact Match option will yield the least amount of clicks, and in turn, yield less sales.

    Finally, keywords that aren’t performing well should be archived―an author only needs 15-20 of the best-selling keywords to be profitable. Getting rid of the dead weight will save an author a ton of money in the long-run and will also pay immediate dividends in the months to follow.

    Authors can follow these three steps for instant results. Every author has the ability to succeed when armed with the proper knowledge, and the blueprint that I’ve laid out is easy to follow and won’t break the bank if executed correctly.

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 ...