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5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021

The Riddle Report 01 06 2021

Today I am writing about the pursuit of your writing career. The title is Be Proactive.

What do you mean?

One definition of proactive is: Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty. 2021 lies ahead of you. There are a lot of unknowns right now.

Take the election of the President. No matter the outcome of today’s voting, it is unlikely we will know who the next President is until the Supreme Court gets involved. There is a lot of evidence of voter fraud, certainly a great deal of mistrust of election results, and the abuse of power by state governors and their administrations.

That’s just one area of uncertainty. Connected to those issues you also have the economy, international relations, Covid-19, and so on. In other words, you, and all the rest of us, don’t know what 2021 will be like.

That being the case, I think we authors need to be proactively engaged. This blog contains 5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021.

  1. Budgeting

This involves looking back and forward. How did your writing budget work out last year. This would be a great time to analyze your success. While I am speaking of money, success has many faces.

You may not have made much money, but did you position yourself for success. In a moment we will talk about goals but positioning yourself involves financial investment for sure yet there is much more involved.

For instance, are you ready to write a new novel? I published some novels last year, but I have also laid the groundwork or have already started writing other novels. What about you.

If you been writing for any length of time you may have gotten to that stage where you can work on more than one novel at a time. If that is the case, it is a good thing. If you haven’t started working on the next novel, this would be a good time to start.

How about publishing and marketing? Now’s the time to start on them.

  • Goals

We hear about setting goals all the time and the reason is that goal setting can be very effective. Set short-term, intermediate term, and long-term goals.

For example, in locally marketing our TR Writing Services I began last year putting shoe leather to my marketing efforts. I began visiting local strip malls and getting out business cards and flyers to let people know about our products. I plan on continuing and expanding these efforts in 2021.

As for novels, I have three novels I am working on right now. All three were begun in 2020 and now being enhanced. In some cases, the novels may have major rewriting involved. Don’t know yet, but it is a possibility.

  • Writing

I just mentioned my plans for writing in the Goals segment. But being proactive requires more than just establishing goals. It involves actually doing some writing. Keep writing!

If you don’t have a plan for writing your books, develop one. It doesn’t have to be hard and fast, set in stone. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend that.

A better idea, specially if you are writing multiple books, is to work on one project and then switch to another. This will help keep your mind alert.

Plan ahead, maybe even schedule your books, but nothing set in stone.

  • Publishing

Publishing is a very important area. Have you decided to become an Indie Publisher? Whether you are traditional, self-publishing, or indie publishing, you need to start working on that now.

If traditional you need to have an agent who can find the right publisher for you. If you are going Self-Publishing you need the money so you can pay upfront (remember, it could be $800 or more). If Indie, it may not be money, but it could be getting all your pawns in order.

Whatever you plan on doing in 2021, now is the time to think about it and put your plans in action.

  • Marketing

Marketing is the final step. It involves advertising, selling, and record keeping. You may be one of those persons who can just do it and don’t need a calendar or some other reminder. Me, I need reminding.

And we all need good record keeping. I am not going to go into any detail on that because we all have different needs and expectations. But now is the time to get started!

Here at TR Writing Services, we stand ready to help you. Our motto is “We edit, proof, and publish the book within you.”  As for marketing, we can advise you and provide certain tools, such as your own dedicated book page that you can use to begin marketing. This page is free and designed to help your prospective reader to find and buy your book.

For more information see below.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing

The Riddle Report 01 02 2021

A new year has started, and you are dissatisfied with your writing career. Perhaps you are making money writing for someone else, but publishing books has not really happened for you. You wrote a book that you think is the all-American novel, but you can’t get it published.

You’ve tried the traditional press and they won’t look at your novel unless you have an agent. So, you went out and submitted your books to agents, most of whom turned their collective noses down on your book. And those interested were either in the wrong genre or too expensive.

What to do When Traditional Publishing Doesn’t Work.

There are several options, but we are only going to look at two: Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing.

Self-Publishing.

Self-Publishing has been around for a while. The name suggests that by using their service you are self-publishing your book. That you are in control.

This is not accurate. You, the author, are actually paying a publisher to publish your book and the publisher gets the benefits. Here’s a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  1. No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  2. Time from signing contract to actual publication usually only a few months.
  3. Virtually able to have book published.
  4. Author owns ISBN.
  5. Royalty paid.

Disadvantages:

  1. Publisher still in charge.
  2. Author gets low royalties, usually a formula that starts out at 8% or something similar.
  3. Marketing tools available with a price.

On the face of it self-publishing looks good for the author. And for some it probably is good. But if you want to have control of your book from creation to marketing, then there are problems. In the list of Disadvantages, I listed “Publisher still in charge” as the first disadvantage. Why? Because if the publisher is in charge of your book then you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

Try this simple quiz:

  • If I use their editing services, do I still have final say?
    • Most self-publishing companies offer their authors their editing services. In some cases. they may charge for it.
    • When I published my first book, I used a self-publishing company, but I chose to do my own editing. Why? Because I did not want them to make any corrections unless I agreed to it and I wasn’t convinced that they would do that.
  • How long do I have to review a Proof before returning it for correction or publication?
    • In self-publishing the publisher makes the rules. When I was with a self-publisher, I was given 72 hours to proof the book. Sounds like a lot of time, but you are proofing to find any and all mistakes. For example, I found errors that were repeated throughout the book. I found some and noted them, but not all. So, some errors remained in the published version.
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it?
    • Yes, if you are willing to pay for another book. Generally speaking, once your book is published, it is done.
  •  If so, how much does it cost?
    • This varies but I would estimate between $400 and $800 for one book.
  • How much help do I get marketing the book?
    • I didn’t get much. They did have a variety of tools I could purchase. But actual help, no.
  • What do the marketing tools cost?
    • That varies from publisher to publisher. In my opinion, too much.

Although the answers to the above questions are not ideal, self-publishing is still better than traditional publishing in that you do have more control than before and the book gets published faster.

INDIE Publishing

In 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I went out to lunch at a small McDonalds located in Murdock, part of greater Port Charlotte, and made a very important decision. As we sat there and discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers, although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet, we decided to establish our own publishing company called T&R Independent Books. The T was for Teresa and the R for Ronald.

Let’s look at the Why form our own publishing company.

Up to that time I had been publishing using what is commonly called self-publishing companies to publish my books. But as I studied these companies I discovered:

  • They controlled the content
  • They controlled the cover
  • They determined the royalties
  • I still had to do the marketing

In other words, while I had more freedom and control that I’d have with a traditional publisher I still didn’t really have control of anything. By going independent and truly publishing by myself, I would:

  • Have control over the content
  • Have control over the cover
  • Determine the royalties
  • Still do the marketing

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a control freak. Rather, I believe that if the author is going to invest his or herself into writing a book, any book, then they deserve to benefit from it.

Case in point. With traditional and self-publishing companies the average author’s royalties are scaled. It varied from publisher to publisher but in general it might go like this: 8% of retail for the first 2,500; 15% for the next 5,000; 25% thereafter. Now the numbers I just used may not be accurate (I did it from memory), but the concept is true.

But by doing my own publishing I can receive 35% or 70% right from the start! That is a major difference.

What about the content?

With traditional publishers you generally have to first go through an agent who then tries to find a publisher. The agent has certain criteria which may involve you changing the content. But just finding an agent can be long and frustrating. Then the agent gets to tell you whether the book is good enough for publishing based on their expertise.

Even self-publishers exert control. For example, say you are writing a book and you quote from the King James Version Bible. It is possible they will substitute a different version whether you agree or not. They may also reject passages they don’t like. In other words, just because you are pleased with your results they might not be and can act accordingly.

Another thing involved is the ability to correct. No matter how or to what extent you have had your book previewed and edited, there is always the chance of errors. Moreover, the publisher may have printing errors. I ran into this with my books. I was sent a ‘Proof’ copy and given about three days to review, find errors, make corrections, and return (electronically, of course). (For more on this see above in section about Self-Publishing.)

But by publishing the book myself I am able to take my time and do a more thorough job of previewing and editing. And, if there are still errors in the published version, I can correct the errors and republish at no cost to myself!

What about the Cover?

I have discussed Cover Creator in previous blogs, but Kindle’s Cover Creator and Photo Gallery provide free pictures or frames in which I can upload my own pictures. Moreover, if I am willing to hire someone to do a professional picture including the bar code, I can do that. Just have to meet KDP’s criteria.

And one last thing: Writing a book can be and is stressful; so is marketing. Having greater control over the publishing removes a lot of stress; and having greater control over price and royalties is far more rewarding.

The result is that you can approach marketing with far less stress than before.

Have you considered Indie Publishing?

More and more authors are discovering the value of the Indie approach. Yes, it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it. Go to our website and check out our videos, all free, that give you a head start on building your own writing and publishing business.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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TR Writing Service 2021

The Riddle Report 12 29 2020

Today we are looking at TR Writing Services in 2021

TR Writing Services was founded in 2019 as a service of T&R Independent Books. Since that founding, we have been slowly building it up. In 2020 we have already helped clients and expanded our services. Now, we are looking forward to 2021.

What follows is an overview of the business and a look into the future.

TR Writing Services is for the Little Guy

Back when I was in my twenties, I had a desire to write books. I found and signed up for a writing course. Although the course was not considered expensive by the experts I ended dropping out because of lack of money. This was at a time when I was laid off which wiped out my savings and delayed my writing career by decades. I never forgot!

Over the years I have discovered that just about any kind of writers’ aid that is out there is beyond the budget of most people. This includes the art of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. The “little guy or gal” doesn’t have much of a chance. Having experience this problem myself I increasingly felt a desire to help others get published.

Why We Founded TR Writing Services

Our first love as far as writing is concerned is writing our own books. I’ve experienced the highs and lows of writing, whereas my wife, who published her first book in 2020, is currently experiencing the same. All writers must face obstacles, overcome them or change directions. But getting the help they need at the time they need it is a great need that is often priced out of their reach.

TR Writing Services was established with the purpose of creating a low-cost service that addresses the editing and publishing aspects of being an author. When considering our services you will find that our service is considerably lower than our competitors.

What is TR Writing Services?

TR Writing Services is Entry Level Proofing and Editing for the author(s) who cannot afford the more expensive services you find online. If you are looking for a professional extensive treatment of your manuscript, then this is the wrong place. We at TR Writing Services are here to expedite your ability to publish your book at an affordable price yet with high quality. You will have a book that you can be proud of

This service will focus on such things as grammar, spelling, formatting, and other quality issues. This is not aimed at academic books but rather fiction, nonfiction, and how-to.

What Plans Do We Offer?

We have a variety of plans beginning with our Custom Plans (120 and 150 plans). These custom plans are designed for small books of 120 pages or less and 150 pages or less. Both of these custom plans will edit and prepare your books of less than 100 pages for publishing, but the actual publishing is left to you. In these cases, you would publish using local printers and we would work with you and your printer to get the book published.

Those are custom plans at minimal cost, but we also offer the following 4 plans:

Bronze Plan

This plan is for books up to 50,000 words and slightly higher. We edit, proof, and publish the book for you. The entire process involves us working with the author and the author is in charge. That means that we may advise you something is not recommended or not professional, but you may want to stick with what you have. We do everything we can to adhere to your preferences.

The cost may change in the future but as of 12/29/2020 it is $145 plus an additional $150 for eBook service. For both the Print and eBook formats you can provide your own book cover image which we upload and use with a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) template or your own book cover privately prepared (it must meet KDP guidelines).

You have the option of a free ISBN (recommended), free copyright, and free KDP account setup.

Total cost is $295 (Print and eBook) plus any other expenses you incur on your own.

Silver Plan

The Silver Plan includes all of the Bronze Plan but is for books up to and slightly more than 75,000 words.

The cost for this is currently $195 for Print only or $345 for the Print and eBook combination.

Gold Plan

The Gold Plan includes all of the Silver Plan but is for books of up to and slightly more than 90,000 words.

The cost for this is currently $295 for Print only or $445 for the Print and eBook combination.

Platinum Plan

The Platinum Plan is the best plan. It is for books up to and above 120 words. If the word count exceeds 120,000 the price will reflect the costs described below. This plan comes with the eBook, however if you do not want an eBook published, the cost would be $150 less.

The cost for this is currently $390.

If you have priced out our competitors you have already seen that our most expensive plan is approximately less than half their standard plan.

What Does It Cost?

Cost varies depending on page count and what you the author want.

As the years have passed, we’ve noticed that the high cost of help remains. Some services advertise a word-by-word cost. For example, they may charge $0.005 per word. That sounds great until you do the math. A book of 50,000 words would cost $250 just for the proofing! We at TR Writing Services charge only $0.002 per word meaning the same book would cost $100 for the proofing, a saving of $150.

A book of 100,000 words at $0.005 costs $500 while TR Writing Services would charge $200, a whopping savings of $300. In addition, TR Writing Services offers many FREE services, such as Setup of KDP Account if needed, Copyright page, ISBN (KDP free), Uploading your manuscript, Uploading Bio Picture for Back Matter, and more.

That is just the basic costs. But it gives you an idea. For greater detail simply contact us at marketing@tr-writingservices.com and we will email you a free copy of our brochure at no obligation on your part (we also will email you a copy of our book A Guide to Writing for free).

Can I Use TR Writing Services?

The short answer is yes. Basically, we accept anyone who submits a form (found in our free TR Writing Services brochure) plus the first three chapters of your book. We examine the form and the chapters to determine whether you fit the profile that we are looking for. If approved, we send to a letter of approval with a link to a page where you can purchase the service.

What Is Prohibited?

We are a Christian organization that applies Biblical standards.

We do not work with anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, excessive graphics, profanity, or any work that violates our Biblical stand.

If during the course of the contract excessive graphics or any profanity is found the author shall be informed and corrections/deletions required. Failure on the author’s part to provide this update will constitute a violation of the contract and subject it to termination.

How Do I Sign Up?

It’s simple. Simply go to our Facebook page and click on the “Learn More” link. This will take you to our web page. You can also simply go here. In either case you arrive at the first step that explains what you need to do to get started.

Basically, you will email us and seek a free copy of our TR Writing Services booklet. This booklet describes our services in greater detail and provides a form to fill out. Once filled out you copy it and post in another email along with the first 3 chapters of your book. No fee at this time.

We will review and decide. If we decide to accept you, we will email you a link and password to get you into the secure payment page. You then select the plan you want and pay for it.

Simple as that!

Then What Happens?

We go to work!

We will examine the entire book. Since we use Kindle Direct Publishing for our books we will examine your book in the light of their criteria. We will diligently examine the grammar, spelling, and more depending on the plan.

2021 Outlook

We have all had a tough year (2020), but we are excited about the future. No matter the outcome of the Presidential election there will still be people writing books. And some of these people will need our help. We stand ready to assist them (and you) in producing a quality book at a budget friendly cost!

As authors, we will be publishing our own books and you can learn about them at our website (just go to tr-WritingServices.com and look at our catalog where you have links to Amazon.com).

In the meantime, we wish you a happy and productive New Year. May your writing career be all you want it to be.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.