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A Business of My Own

I have wanted a business of my own for as long as I can remember. It is the American Dream! When we lived in Michigan my wife and I started an online bookstore that served all of the United States. Growth was slow, but it did grow until we moved down to Florida.

We moved down here to take care of my mother-in-law who had Alzheimers. And that quickly became a 24/7 job which eventually led us to closing the store. We simply couldn’t give it the time needed.

My mother-in-law was probably one of the sweetest mothers-in-law ever. A godly woman who was very smart. It was sad seeing her deteriorate and then in 2013 she died. She’s now in Heaven.

About a year and a half later (August 2014) Teresa and I decided to get back in business again. This time we launched T&R Independent Books as the publisher of our books. It was a business that brought us many opportunities, such as this blog.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Starting our own publishing business was a good decision on our part. Back in 2003 when I had my first book published it cost me a hefty (for me) upfront cost of some $400 (in today’s market it is more like $800). The Self-Publisher I went with did a good job on the book, but it didn’t take me long to realize I was doing most of the work, but royalties were small.

I moved to another self-publisher, but the royalties were about the same. I got something like 5-8% for the first 2,000 or so books and then the percentage went up. Eventually reaching 35%. Again, it seemed to me I was doing most of the work yet getting very little royalties.

I had never heard about being an Independent businessman, but my wife and I decided that since we had to do most of the work anyway, we might as well start publishing our own books. So, in early August 2014, we launched. But later that month I had a heart attack. Not related to the business, but it sure impacted it.

The good news in all of that was that while my writing career was temporarily sidetracked, I had time to evaluate where we were and what needed to be done. And I quickly realized that I needed to either buy back book rights or retire the books published through other publishers. Some books I was able to buy back and some I simply retired and rewrote under a different title.

For the next five years I wrote new books, rewrote older books, and learned about publishing. During this time, I also learned that I am called an “Indie” or “an Independent businessman.” Our business is considered an Independent Publisher. So, in effect, we had become Indie authors, publishers, and marketers.

By the way, now I can start out with 35% or 70% royalties from the very first book sold! Plus, I can edit the books after they are published. This is huge, because self-publishers generally require you to purchase another package.

Now, as a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, I have learned a great deal about writing and publishing. And I am learning about marketing, as well. This has led to our launching TR Services in 2019. The School of Hard Knocks is free to take but costs you in time, pain, and wasted money. But that experience inspired me to start TR Services which is aimed at help people to avoid the School of Hard Knocks.

Part of the Service’s outreach is a series of videos laying the basic foundation for men and women who want to be authors. In them I talk about the business itself and in the future will probably do more videos on writing. These videos are free to everyone.

These videos are very important for anyone aspiring to be an author. Why? Because they provide the nuts and bolts of getting started in business with very little cost. Located on our website they are easy to find and watch.

The very first video is both an introduction to the series and to the concept of why you should think of yourself as a businessperson. This is essential whether you publish your own books or not. You need to think of yourself as a businessperson from the moment you start thinking of becoming an author.

Do I have any regrets?

Yes. I wish I would have started this a long time ago. But then I would have missed the valuable lessons of the School of Hard Knocks. So, I guess you are the one who gets the benefits.

So, if there is the slightest chance that you might write a book, whether many or just one, visit us take advantage of our knowledge. It is free and helpful. Periodically I will either up the videos or add additional ones for your perusal.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

Oh, and if you email us inquiring about our services, we will provide you a free copy of our book on writing plus a brochure about our business.

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What if My Book Doesn’t Sell?

What if my book doesn’t sell? I think that is a question all writers at least think about. It is a legitimate question, but is it the most important?

I have put my best efforts into my latest book. Am I concerned about sales? Of course, but there are other areas that are more important. In my case, I have a website to maintain, a blog to write articles for, plus reviews to get for my book.

The truth is all of these things affect sales, but I choose not to focus on how many books have been sold. Long term that is important, but I write because I love to write. But sales don’t occur if people don’t know about the book.

Going forward, I am more concerned about getting the word out there to the potential readers. And that is going to require work on my part!

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

What should I do about marketing?

The truth is that the more money you have available, the more you can do. But since you may be on a strict budget, I will discuss those things that are either free or inexpensive.

PRE-PUBLISH

I have divided this int Pre-publication and Post-publication. In Pre-publication your primary goal is to get noticed.

One way to get noticed is through book reviews. I have recently discovered a book review resource called Booksprout. You can try it out for free or signup for the $10 a month program or the $20 a month program. The essential difference between the two paid programs is that the $10 gets you up to 50 reviewers per ARC (Advance Review Copy) while the $20 gets you unlimited reviewers.

That is a very reasonable price. There are no guarantees about whether you get a 1-star, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star review. Only that you have the opportunity to get reviews.

Booksprout is recommended for pre-publication but can also be used for books already published. Booksprout explains how it all works on their website.

One warning: If you have your book listed in Select (KDP Select), you cannot use Booksprout. To use Booksprout cancel your automatic renewal of Select and when it reaches the end of its term, then use Booksprout.

Another pre-publish strategy is to make use of your email list. This strategy can be free or come with a subscription price. Email is a long-term strategy. By that I mean you can grow your Email list over time. You may need to experiment with your content and how it links to your book. But it is something that almost all ‘experts’ recommend.

Then there are ads.

You will need to look at what type of ad is your best. For instance, do you use a Facebook ad or an Amazon ad or a YouTube ad. Depending on which you choose there are rules that you would be wise to learn.

If you choose to run an ad, make sure to establish the budgeting with firmness. Advertising without control can end up costing you a ton of money.

Pre-Orders

Pre-Orders of your eBooks can accomplish two things. The first is the sales build up and are accomplished all at the same time; thus, providing your book a surge right at the beginning which Amazon will notice. Secondly, potential buyers will notice the surge and be encouraged to buy.

Pre-Orders are only for eBooks on Amazon, but if you have a website and sell your books (see under Post-Publish Website for more information), then you could create your own Pre-Order for print books. I plan on experimenting with this for my next book.

There are additional strategies you can use, but these four ideas standout and can work for a small budget.

POST-PUBLISH

Three of the four strategies you used for Pre-Publish can be used also for post-publish. Obviously, Pre-Order is no longer available once the book is published.

Reviews

Booksprout can be used for published books. See Booksprout for more information. Make sure to include all your reviews. That means the bad ones as long as you have more good ones. It lets people know that you are providing them honest information and it gives you the opportunity to review the reviews.

Ads

Ads are recommended. No matter which platform you use it will probably be your most expensive item. But a successful ad can make a big difference.

Website

Your website can be an integral part of your advertising. If you have reviews, you can post them on your website. This can be very important, especially if you sell your books on your website. KDP allows you to buy and sell copies of your book through the Author Copies program. That is only true of print books, but it gives you a great advantage.

I mentioned in Pre-Publish the idea of selling your books on your own website and offering your readers a Pre-Order of the print book. As far as I know there are no restrictions on doing that.

Ads

All the options you have for ads in Pre-Publish are available in Post-Publish. You might want to remember that books sold by Amazon have a 60-day window. Meaning, that the proceeds from the sales are not paid out until 60-days have passed.

But if your ad directs buyers to your website, then you get instant payment.

These are just a few suggestions. The more money you have available, the more you can do.

But one last principle: Don’t focus on the sales. If you are writing with the idea of making big bucks you may or may not succeed. But if you fail in that endeavor you could become discouraged.

I suggest you focus on why you write. I write because I love writing. Whether I become rich or not is not my focus. I love writing and will continue to write as long as I continue to love doing it.

Do I want to make money? Of course! I have a vision that God has given me and money would make that vision a reality. But whether I write or not is not dependent on sales.

I love reviews. Occasionally, as time permits, I review books by other authors. But reviews of my books are valuable. They not only tell potential readers what you think of the book, but they help me sharpen my craft and make me a better writer.

I plan on submitting more of my books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Go Fast or Go Slow

Should you go fast or go slow? Obviously, the answer to this question depends on what the activity or business is that you are talking about. I am asking this question as an author.

For transparency, I am also asking this as a Christian. Sometimes people get upset when I write from a Christian viewpoint, but I make no apologies. A person’s faith never operates apart from their social and business lives. Our true faith is demonstrated in how we live, work, and play. To think otherwise is to fool yourselves.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

One could say that I learned the craft of writing by going through the school of hard knocks. When I started out as a young man in his twenties, I knew little about writing other that I loved to read, had a great imagination, and not much else. While I am sure there were courses out there that were available, they were expensive.

But I was able to take one for a short time until I got laid off from work and had to cancel the course. But it did whet my appetite for writing. I discovered I had some talent, so my dream of being an author was galvanized.

But that was a time when I first answered the question of whether to go fast or go slow. I wasn’t a Christian. So, praying for guidance was not a factor. I went fast and seized the opportunity. While it fizzled out, I did learn some basics and was encouraged.

It wasn’t until I got saved, that is I received Christ as my Savior, that I began seeking His guidance. But God had some cleaning up to do in my life, so I continued to run in to writing roadblocks. But in 2000 it changed!

First, you need to understand that I have a Do It Yourself (DIY) personality. That doesn’t always work out for the best. In the field of writing, I had to learn a great deal about writing. This learning came about through failures.

I would begin writing a story, get about three to five chapters in and suddenly hit a wall. I didn’t know how to handle that obstacle and it invariably led to my dropping the book. But then in 2000, I was doing my morning devotions in the Book of Genesis and reading about Noah and the Flood.

I love history, so reading the historical account of the Flood triggered my imagination. And I suddenly realized that the Biblical account was all I needed for my understanding of man’s sin, and God’s judgment. But I also realized that there were individual stories only hinted at. And thus was born my first book, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, which later was united with another book to form the basis for Perished: The World That Was.

Up until I wrote Refuge, I was ‘going slow’. But upon publishing my first novel in 2003, I opted to ‘go fast’. And I began pursuing greater knowledge and learning the art of being a DIYer.

With my first novel, I entered the world of DIY editing. Most professionals advise against editing your own work. A large part of their opinion is based on the fact that as the writer of the book, you know what you wrote, and it is quite easy to gloss over errors. I don’t mean you let them slide, but rather you don’t see them. Your mind tricks you into believing you wrote the right word or had the right punctuation and thereby you miss the error. If you want to be a success at editing your own publications, then you need to know the 1st Principle.

1st Principle : If you are going to go DIY, then know that it will be hard, very hard!

One of the reasons I chose to edit my own work, is that I didn’t trust the self-publisher I was using. I love the King James Bible and regard it as not only the best and most accurate Bible, but the only Bible for English speaking people. I was afraid they would change the verses that I used. (I integrated the King James Version verses into the book and the language of the book.)

Thus, I was now saddled with editing the entire book. And I quickly discovered that it was not easy. But I have never looked back at that decision and regretted it. Instead, my writing improved and so did my editing.

2nd Principle : Even professional editors make mistakes.

Over the years I have read some highly successful books. Books that are considered classics. And everyone had mistakes in them. What was the difference between their mistakes and mine? Mostly, the number of mistakes made. Professionals go over the book thoroughly and if you are going to do your own editing, you must do the same thing! This is a case of ‘going slow’.

In 2014 my wife and I formed T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers. This started out as ‘going fast’, but in that same year and only about a month afterward, I had a heart attack. Needless to say, I had to slow down a lot!

But learning to be a master at writing, editing, proofing, and publishing at the same time was itself a slow process. But a necessary one.

3rd Principle : The hard work was worth it!

I have learned some professional traits along the way. But I also fell into a well-laid trap. We live in a world where making big money consumes most Americans. And that included me!

So, I became focused on the end result of making a lot of money. I read and listened to just about anyone that seemed to have success. I learned about funnels, give-a-ways, relationship selling, email lists, and much more. And yes, these did not always agree with one another.

I was now ‘going fast’, too fast! And I had so much knowledge that I was confused as to what to do. Think of a race car spinning its wheels and going nowhere.

But just as God used my heart attack to slow me down, He also allowed me to see how that my focus was on the wrong thing. I saw that my reason for writing was not to make a ton of money, but to write a quality book that people would enjoy.

I slowed down and began to review my goals. I got a mentor who began changing my way of thinking. I learned to keep the knowledge that was more in tune with my reason for writing and tossed much of the rest.

Don’t get me wrong. As a Christian one of my motives is to spread the gospel. And that requires money. But instead of money just for myself, it was now money to achieve a godly goal.

Many changes have begun taking shape under the influence of my mentor, my own growth as a Christian, and my growth as a writer. Just yesterday, I got in my car and headed for a local bookstore to talk to the owner. I wanted to get her perspective on marketing my latest book, World of Joseph.

But I had forgotten that the bookstore was closed on Mondays. On the way home, God spoke to my heart. He had let me go there with the purpose of reminding me to ‘go slow’. Or better yet, to ‘wait upon the Lord’!

Oh, that is hard. I try to be a patient man, but it doesn’t always work out that way. God reminded me that it is always best ‘to wait upon the Lord’.

4th Principle : Listen to God. If you are born again, having received Christ and have the Indwelling Holy Spirit within you, then you have all you really need. God has your best interests at heart.

Should you go fast or go slow? The fact is that all of us need to go at God’s speed. He has the fast speed for some, slow speed for others, and still others are told to wait.

There’s a verse for that. In Isaiah 40:31, it says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Wait on God’s leading, follow the pace He sets for you, and true success will come according to His timetable.

All three formats of World of Joseph are available at Amazon. But the paperback and hardcover are available at TR Independent Bookstore where all our books are always discounted. Now that the special discount of World of Joseph of 20% ended at midnight of the 19th, both formats are still discounted the same as all our books. So, you still have great bargains!

Speaking of reviews, why not review one of my books. Next month I plan on submitting more books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Preparing to be Published

I am preparing to be published again. It is always the same feeling of excitement mixed with anticipation.

The manuscript has been proofed, the cover is ready, and I am nearing the time when the eBook will go on PreOrder status. But that is not all.

I have been busy upgrading my website. Why?

It is always a good practice to frequently update your website. It presents fresh material for the bots to explore and report back to their masters whether it be Google, Yahoo, or a host of others.

But in this case, I was updating to make the products I sell easier. Easier for you to buy and easier for me to manage. Earlier this year, I upgraded to WooCommerce on my website. Today, I added the PayPal extension that will allow my customers the safest, most reliable experience as they shop.

There are many trusted venues or gateways that businesses can use for their customers benefit. And I am sure that they do everything possible to ensure a safe environment and a smooth, reliable transaction experience. But, in my opinion, PayPal is the best.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

You may prefer other methods for customers to use. And that is fine.

I am writing this blog not to promote PayPal, but to emphasize that when you are done writing, you still have things you should do. One is to take steps to improve customer experience.

Sitting back and just waiting for the publication date is not being proactive. There are things you can do like developing ads, updating your website, and using Social Media to promote some buzz. In this way, you can help your own cause.

One of the actions I am currently taking is working on a video that I can email to people I know, insert in a blog like this, and upload to Amazon Central. All of these are actions that have the potential to help generate sales.

Whether I use this video or another remains to be seen. There are plans for a professional video shoot, but I want a good backup just in case. What’s the difference?

Well, I use my computer camera and mike, while a professional will use a more sophisticate camera. Also, a professional does it for a living either as photographer or as part of his overall business.

I have been doing all my videos which are admittedly amateur. They could be improved upon, and it would relieve me of the time of doing them myself. A new company, Pure Video, will be working with me in the near future. Right now it is a matter of getting all our ducks in a row.

Most advice you get will tell you to get professional help for editing, proofing, and marketing. But not everybody has the time or money to find the right professional for their project. It just so happens that I only learned about Pure Video recently from a friend who was starting it. I know him and already have confidence in him, so that simplifies the matter of research. I will probably do a blog about him in the near future.

The point I am making right now, however, is that don’t waste time between the end of writing and the launch of your new book! It is tempting to rest because you have been pouring your heart out in writing and it just might have tired you out. Also, it is easy to think that publishing is just flipping the switch.

The truth is that if you are an Indie Publisher, you still have work to do. In my case, I still had to access my KDP account and make sure everything is ready to go, including pricing. I also need to create the book upon my website, which I will be doing this week. Since I have a bookstore, I will need to determine the discounted price (all our books are discounted). This will be a special discount reflecting the fact this is a new book.

My newest book, The World of Joseph, will come in three formats: paperback, hard cover, and eBook. All will be published at the same time to give customers a good choice from the beginning.

On August 8, 2021, the eBook version will go on PreOrder and the actual launch will be August 12, 2021. As noted above, the paperback and hard cover versions will also be published on August 12, 2021. The printed books will be available at Amazon.com and at TR Independent Bookstore where they are always discounted. The eBook will only be available on Amazon.com although we will have a link to it from our store which is called TR Independent Bookstore.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Announcing Basic-30 Plan

Within a few days, TR Writing Services will be adding a Basic -30 Plan, a new plan that authors may find very desirable. Not long ago, we identified prospective authors who were not at the level of writing 50,000 words or more.

To reach those authors, we instituted what we called the Custom 120 and Custom 150 Plans. These plans provided our service at a much lower cost, thus enabling them to take advantage of our services. However, those plans did not allow for actual publishing.

This meant that while we helped them get their manuscript Publish Ready, we did not publish the book. Rather, they were responsible for the publishing.

This did create interest and work for us, but progress is always going on. That includes our industry. And now, TR Writing Services is able to upgrade what we offer to people who may only want to write a book of 72 pages.

Considering a published book includes Front Matter (which includes Title Page, Copyright Page, and Contents Page), plus Back Matter (which includes an About the Author Page and, possibly an Index of other books written), the actual length of the story itself can be fewer than 72 pages.

So, in response to this information, we are replacing the Custom Plans with a new Basic-30 Plan.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

The Basic-30 Plan covers books from 72 pages to approximately 190 pages. Our new plan prefers the 5×8 format, although that is optional, Calibri 14 font, single space, and approximately 158 words per page. Obviously, these will vary, but it is what we use for basic design and pricing.

The details are:

  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 5×8
  • Pages: 72-190

The Basic-30 maximizes out at 30,000 words. However, this is a flexible number. Thus, it is best to talk to us and find out if your book is Basic-30 or Bronze.

This new plan is identical in most areas to our other plans, including the publishing of the book through Kindle Direct Publishing. But because of the smaller size (5×8) we are able to affect cost savings for the user.

Another advantage of Basic-30 is it lends itself to short stories, poems, collections, and other small books.

As mentioned earlier, it enables authors to get published at less than 50,000 words, which might seem large to a new author. It opens them up to the possibility of getting published without costing them an arm and a leg.

The fact is, we can provide them the same quality of service that they expect with the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans. The only thing we are not including is eBooks, although that could change.

I am excited about this new plan. The reason is that this new ability allows me to get into the smaller book size market for my own books.

Watch for our official announcement or Press Release. This is big news!

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Riddle Report Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day 05 31 2021

ALERT: Memorial Day Sale entire weekend. Use Coupon Code MD10 and get additional 10% off our books.

Memorial Day is a day we set aside on a national scale for honoring and mourning the military personnel who paid the ultimate price for our nation. But we Christians also often use this day to remember those men and women who died for their faith during the past 2000 years, many suffering horrendous deaths.

And finally, it is a time for us to remember Jesus Christ who went to the cross and died so that all men and women could trust in Him and eternally have a home in heaven.

But the official purpose needs to be dealt with here. The United States military is all too often looked upon as a necessary evil. Politicians love cost cutting the military during peacetime and then blame others when our military is caught flatfooted. But the military suddenly becomes very important to our survival until the war ends, then we forget or ignore these men and women. Again!

A case in point was Vietnam. Our troops were sent there with the intent of stopping the communist north from taking over South Vietnam. Liberals attacked our involvement and spread lies and gleefully reported real atrocities that occurred over there. But their concern was not for the men and women in our uniforms. It was a costly war in which we were never defeated militarily but were defeated at home and politically.

When we came home, we weren’t celebrated with parades nor were we praised. Instead, every story of disreputable soldiers the press could find were published. Some veterans suffered from the anti-war militants.

In my case, I came home after serving in the United States Navy off Vietnam. Although I never stepped foot in Vietnam, our ship was within Vietnam waters and participated in providing naval gunfire support for our troops. When I came home, it is true I never saw a parade nor honored by my home community. But, to my knowledge, my family supported my service and honored me.

But it was a war that was fought by men and women who loved their country and who paid the ultimate price. It was a bloody war.

But Memorial Day, started during the Civil War, honors the dead of all our wars from the Revolutionary War to our wars in Iraq, Pakistan, and wherever our men and women have been called to serve. When they died, they didn’t die as Black, Red, or White Americans; they died as Americans. They didn’t die as Republicans or Democrats; they died as Americans. It doesn’t even matter if they were citizens or not, they were Americans. And they were heroes!

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving. And don’t forget our sale all weekend. Simply use Coupon Code MD10 and get extra 10% off our books.

Now back to the article.

These people died serving their country under the flag of the United States of America. And that is all that needs to be said. They were everyday heroes and didn’t even know it!

Here in Port Charlotte, Florida and in Punta Gorda, Florida there will be events to attend. While a majority of Americans only think of Memorial Day as party time, it is the wise person who takes time to remember their sacrifice. So, find one.

I am publishing this blog earlier than normal so that you can be informed about the Military Heritage Museum which will be open from Noon to 4 p.m. All areas of the museum will be open, and veterans get in free (I like free). They will also be allowing adults and youth in at half price which means $6 and $4 respectively. Children ages 4 and under are free.

At 1 p.m. there will be a Commemoration Ceremony in the Gulf Theater which will be free and open to the public. U.S. Representative Greg Steube will give a special tribute, plus there will be recitations, music, and a “moving candle lighting ceremony” with representatives from each American conflict.

If you are interested in attending, the museum it is located at 900 W. Marion Ave., in Punta Gorda. (You can also contact them for reservations at www.militaryheritagemuseum.org or call them at 941-575-9002).

Whether you attend that event or another, pause, and remember the sacrifices made. If you live in America, whether citizen or not, black, red, or white, these people died for you.

Until Jesus returns, we will always need to keep a strong military. Our enemies, both near and far, are always looking to harm us. The recent fighting in Israel illustrates the nature of that enemy. They hate the Jews and anyone who helps them! It is important to remember that our enemy doesn’t care whether you are a man, a woman, a child, or an unborn baby. Their goal, purpose, and cause are to murder and destroy.

Enjoy the day, but also take time to honor them. In the end, whether they fought at home or in some far-off land they did it for you, your children, and your grandchildren.

Don’t forget! Use Code MD10 and get 10% off your purchases in our bookstore.

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Riddle Report Memorial Day Sale

05 28 2021

Today is Friday and the Memorial Day weekend is beginning. For us at T&R Independent Bookstore, this is a chance to give back to our community. At 6:00 p.m. today our first ever Memorial Day Sale takes place.

In honor of this even we are going big. As you may know our bookstore only recently opened offers a sizeable discount on all our books. Every book in the store sells for $2.00 less than the retail. That’s $2 off what you pay at Amazon or anywhere else!

Depending on the retail the discount ranges from over 7% to over 25% off. That’s a pretty stout discount. But that is our everyday price. For this weekend we are going to do more.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

I am a veteran. I served for four years in the Vietnam War. A war that saw many returning sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen return to their home country disliked and often insulted. But they have lived to see that turn around.

This weekend, we take our place beside veterans of other wars, but there are thousands of men and women who died serving their country. Some died in far away and hard to pronounce places while others died in hospitals right here in America.

This coming Monday will be Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who didn’t make it back. They went out young, brave, and, sometimes, untrained. But, if they were lucky, they came home in coffins and are buried where loved ones can still honor them.

But others were never found, or their bodies were burned or sank to the bottom of the sea. However, they died, they died defending the American Flag and the ideal of our country.

I know many of you will see a living veteran and thank him for his or her service, but please remember those who died in war. That is what Memorial day is all about.

So, in honor of those who fell in battle, we are discounting all our books by an additional 10%. You still have to pay for shipping and taxes, but the book or books will cost less. Beginning at 6 p.m. you will find a banner on our website providing you a coupon. All you have to do is use that coupon code (the name of the coupon) at checkout and you automatically get the discount.

Use Coupon Code: MD10

As you take advantage of our sale and other business’s specials, please remember that men and women gave their lives so you could do that. Some were white, some were brown or black, and some were red, but all were Americans. They were also divided by faith, ethnicity, sex, and age, but none of that matters. They died for you; celebrate that!

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Pamper Your Desire to Write

05 24 2021

You love to read, and you have a desire to write a book. But you don’t have the skill or training to be able to write, much less get published and sold!

Ladies and Gentlemen put those concerns behind you! Instead of worrying about what you don’t control, pamper that desire to write! Your concerns may be appropriate, but they can be addressed and that is what you are doing as you read this blog.

You may not have natural skills, but you can develop what you have. You may not know how to edit, but you can be taught, or you can hire someone to do it for you. You may not know how to get published, but there are people willing to help you do just that.

You have fears and concerns. Fine. Contact TR Writing Services and we’ll talk. Whatever you do, don’t give up on your dream!

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Why do I say don’t quit and give up on your dreams? Because I believe that everyone, and that includes you, has a story to tell. A story that might be based on personal childhood experiences, or personal adult experiences. Nobody can guarantee sales, but we can guarantee getting published. That is why we started T&R Writing Services.

As an example of not giving up, I had a hard road to travel before I got published. But here’s a principle that I followed and still follow: Write what you love. I love history, so my first books were based on history. But since I also love God’s Word, my first books were centered in the Book of Genesis. Up until Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote by direct revelation, plus gathered, organized, and assembled the ‘Writings’ into what we call the Bible there was no written historical records. Evolutionists erroneously believe that men didn’t write back then and only related history by oral stories. In fact, Adam and Eve were geniuses by our standards, but man lost that ability to read and write at the Tower of Babel. But that’s another story in itself. The fact is that my love for history and Biblical history led directly to my basing my first novels in Genesis. Start with what you love!

There is another reason we started this business. Because once I was where you are. I wanted to write but didn’t know how. I looked around for help and it was hard to find anyone. I finally found help at a monthly fee. But I was in a low paying job and it strained my budget. I took the chance and began learning.

Unfortunately, I got laid off. End of writing course. So, I spent years learning the craft the hard way. There were times I didn’t even attempt to write a story. Instead, I diverted my efforts to writing computer code (self-taught), but when the software was upgraded, I didn’t have the money to upgrade myself, and upon investigation I found my previous experience didn’t help anyhow! So, I had to stop.

Then I wrote my first book using a Self-Publishing company. It cost me $400, which was a lot of money back then. Today, that same book would undoubtedly cost me $800 or possibly more at that Self-Publisher. But if I was a client of TR Writing Services, I could have my document edited, proofed, and published for only $145. That is a significant difference!

So, I understand the desire and the frustration. All you really want is a chance to write your book and get published. But it seems like the world is conspiring against you. You may not choose to use TR Writing Services, but whatever you do don’t quit on your dream. That dream is worth pursuing. You might find it difficult to pursue but do it anyhow.

Go on the internet and search for the services that will help you get your book print ready and publish your book. Contact them and discover what they have to offer you and the cost. If they are not willing to discus the price upfront, then that is a red flag.

When people contact us, we send them a free brochure that explains our services and we send a PDF of the book, T&R’s Guide to writing. It helps you with the basics of writing so you can start writing with more confidence.

Writing is an exciting occupation. When you get that book printed, and in your hand, there is a special feeling. You’ve done it! Your dream has come true! Take that step and work toward that moment.

And if you happen to be a Christian let me add that the world needs Christian writers. There is a lot of trash out there, but you can add fiction or nonfiction books that provide good content for readers to choose. So, seek God’s wisdom and guidance, then if He gives you the green light, go for it.

If you are listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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INDIE PUBLISHING

The Riddle Report 05 17 2021

These days the author has more responsibility than ever before and more opportunities! Indie Publishing plays a big role.

In days gone by the author wrote a novel, submitted it to a publisher, and once accepted, relaxed. But Indie Publishing has changed all of that !

There are all kinds of publishers out there. But here I want to present you with a different perspective. In a previous blog I have mentioned that there is a better way than self-publishing. You are about to see what I was talking about.

First a brief history. I published my first novel in 2003. Since then, I have written a number of books. The first four books were all published by self-publishers. But in 2013, I discovered Smashwords.com and published my first eBook. (My other books are also in the eBook format, but the publisher did this because I paid for it.)

This discovery has changed my life and now I am about to reveal to you what I believe is a better way to publish.

That better way is simply: You are the publisher!

At the time there was almost no information on the subject but today there’s considerable. It is called Indie Publishing which tells you right off the bat that as a publisher you are independent. This is an important distinction.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print our books. And there are publishers out there willing to be our printer and even our marketer.

The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace, whom I was with, merged with KDP so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP and a few with Smashwords.

I will discuss KDP more in the example. I have also located at least one other printer called Best Value Copy. They are an online printing service that provides quality work at reasonable prices. However, I have not used them or any other publishing platform because KDP has proven to me that they are very capable and affordable.

In looking for a quality printer you can try your own neighborhood. For example, there is a Staples store not far from us that gives business discounts to authors using their printing services. That suggests the possibility that other office supply stores may offer the same services.

But assuming the role of publisher is more than just getting a printer. You literally take on the responsibilities of a publisher. You may have to seek your own ISBN, copyright, and other important items.

In our case, we listed ourselves with the State of Florida with a DBA (Doing Business As) name of T&R Independent Books. Because we use KDP we are able to use their ISBNs which are free, although they also sell other ISBNs for a modest price. Copyrights are free.

It is both exciting and scary. But the rewards can be awesome. For example, a self-publisher may give us anywhere from 8% to 40% royalty depending on volume of books sold. But as our own publisher the percentage jumps up to 60% and more (before costs and taxes).

In addition to that, we have virtual control over every aspect. It is true that with Kindle Direct some control lies with them, but it is also true that such controls are limited.

In establishing our own publishing business, we also took on the marketing of the books, which I may discuss in a future blog.  But in short, we will now be able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we will have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.

Tip: As a publisher you pay the ISBN, the copyright, and other legal fees.                
Tip #2: Indie Publishers can get gross royalties of 60% or more. Even after taxes the profit is excellent.                

Example

I promised to discuss Kindle Direct Publishing and here we go.

When my wife first expressed the desire to start writing her own novels it fitted right in with the idea of T&R Independent Books. So, we immediately began researching what the costs would be to publish.

We searched the internet for both local and online printers. Eventually we settled on KDP because of three primary factors:

  1. We would retain ownership of all rights.
  2. Costs were reasonable.
  3. KDP would provide us worldwide marketing.

(At this time, we were dealing with CreateSpace but in 2018 they merged with KDP. KDP is virtually the same as CreateSpace and both are owned by Amazon.)

These are career changing factors. Although we have and will do our own expanded local marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!

While the KDP name will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.

Application

In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. Initially, we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. However, in 2021 we opened a new store called T&R Independent Bookstore. In both cases, we have control over the marketing, including tracking of sales. Our initial relation with Amazon was the familiarity of Amazon for customers and KDP’s powerful tracking tools.

But our association with WordPress and Woo eCommerce has enabled us to set up our store using WordPress’s Storefront theme. It is another game changer and fits right into our Indie persona.

When using KDP, it enabled us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it did give us, a relative newcomer maximum control and flexibility. And we still have them by our side with the primary difference that the controls, tools, and products (books) reside in our store while the eBooks are on Amazon.

When we started out in 2014 Indie Publishing was rather new and unknown, at least to us. But now becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. It has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come.

Not only the publishing landscape, but our future and yours. You should seriously consider this avenue. I can almost guarantee you that your book will be published sooner than traditionally, and it will cost you dramatically less. Quality is another story as it will be up to you to either do the editing or hire a professional.

Getting published doesn’t guarantee sales. But once again being an Indie Publisher involves great responsibility and great rewards. Being an Indie Publisher has great potential! If you are listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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What Are Six Steps to Writing?

The Riddle Report 04 20 2021

This blog is written to help new authors or those contemplating the idea of writing a book.

If you are thinking about whether to write a book or not, don’t be afraid to step out. While there are thousands of writers out there, there is no one quite like you. And we need to see your work.

What follows are six steps to help you get started. These are not in-depth, and they are not all that difficult. But I believe that you should take them to heart.

#1 – The Concept

The Basics of the Story

A story has to start somewhere and that is usually in the mind of the author. Perhaps it is a childhood memory, college years, military service, or simply a job. All of these are potential sources of plots.

You may only know a ‘what if?’ concept or perhaps a specific event in your own life that has triggered an idea for a story. While I am primarily talking about a fictional story, you could also want to write a nonfiction account of your experience.

#2 – The Research

Beginning Research

I call it Beginning Research because research is something you will need to do a lot of throughout your writing. But here you are performing some basic research to get you off on the right foot.

Some of the research you will do is as follows:

  • What is the uniqueness of the subject?
  • Has someone else already written on the subject?
  • What genres will it be in?
  • Is it fictional or nonfiction?

You get the idea. These are areas that you should consider, and you will probably come up with other areas. And none of the above will probably ever get in your book. But they will help you formulate your ideas.

Other areas of research may cover location of the story (i.e., Florida, Maine, etc.), type of industry in area, manner of speech and dress in the area, and so forth. The answers to these questions will have a direct impact upon your story.

In short, research is a valuable tool that you can use to help you throughout writing your book and, indeed, throughout your writing career.

#3 – First Draft

Your initial Work

New authors often fall in love with their first drafts because they poured their hearts into it. But you should always consider the first draft as a rough draft not meant for publication. No matter how much effort you put in this first draft it is going to require work.

I have never met an author who wrote a first draft and successfully published it. Someone out there may claim they have done so, but I can almost guarantee you that the draft is full of errors.

#4 – Review and Edit

Edit or not?

Some writers don’t edit until they have finished the first draft, others like to edit every page. Neither approach is wrong. But I would suggest that making use of your built-in grammar checker can be a help. But it is critical to remember that the grammar checker does not know whether you are writing an academic paper, which requires very stringent grammar, or a novel, which is not that stringent.

The other thing to remember about grammar programs is that they know the rules, but those rules are aimed at the academic level. Plus, the program does not know you are writing a novel, does not know your plot, does not know the education level of your characters, and so forth. So, use the grammar checker as a tool and interpret its concerns accordingly.

That said, I recommend that you strike a balance between constant editing and waiting until the end. Edit is necessary, but too much of a good thing can disrupt your flow of thoughts. In this first draft your story’s development is the most important thing going on. And when you finish your first draft you will find it necessary to go back over the entire book and check out your spelling, grammar, and other issues that may pop up. You find these issues by reading your draft. It is called reviewing.

What you are doing for each draft is reviewing and editing. And it may take several drafts before your book is ready to be published.

#5 – Get Help

Professional Help

After you have finished the first draft and done your review & edit, you can then write your next draft. But after you third or fourth or fifth draft you may realize that you need help.

The temptation is too do it all by yourself. And the hard truth is that even your very best authors don’t publish error free books. I know, I’ve read some of the best and still found errors. Sometimes minor and sometimes major. When you are talking about thousands of words, the likelihood of errors increases even when you use professional help.

But you don’t necessarily need professional help. Consider relatives or friends. But make sure they understand that you need honest reviews. It is not helpful if they tell you what they think you want to hear. What you need are another pair of eyes.

Even so, if you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to do that because if someone helps you out like that you should do something for them. If you are on a tight budget you may have to do it yourself, in which case, I would suggest that you take a breather after finishing a draft and do something else. Then go back and reread your story. You might consider reading with a view for spelling errors, such as ‘their’ instead of ‘there’. Then, reread the story and look at the grammar.

But if you go the do-it-yourself-approach, remember that you are the author and know what you think you wrote. Your mind might trick your eyes into seeing the words that you thought you wrote instead of the words you really wrote.

More about this issue on the other side of this break. TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to help you be your absolute best as a writer.

The problems associated with self-editing are why there are professional editors out there. We exist to help you prepare your book for publishing. We read your book thoroughly looking for errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Then we work with you to improve the story.

In fact, if we are doing the editing, we do so with your story in mind. And not only your story, but your writing style. It is unique to you and we believe it should be preserved. So, we edit and proof the book, then we make sure you are happy with the results. Only when you are happy, and it meets the requirements of KDP is the book published.

And you haven’t spent a fortune to have it done.

Now back to the article.

#6 – Getting Published

Kindle Direct Publishing

At TR Writing Services we use KDP because they:

  • Allow the author to have total control except for a few technical issues
  • Allow you to determine your royalties, which range from 35% to 70%
  • Pay directly to an account you indicate
  • Provide you a large potential readership
  • and much more.

There are self-publishing companies out there that you should learn about. Don’t be confused by the term self-publishing. It does not mean that you have control over the publishing process. They do. And if you want them to edit your book, you may be giving up any control you have there as well.

But there are publishing criteria that you need to check out. One is the book cover.

It is important that after all the work you have put in to the book that your cover be good. And you have some options.

  • KDP gallery, which provides templates and pictures
  • Professional designers who will design a book cover for you

The KDP gallery should not be ignored. They have a small amount of pictures that may fit your need. I wish they would expand that gallery. However, they also have preset templates for book covers which allows you to upload your own pictures, such as designed for you or you purchased off the internet. Some designers will design the back cover for you but unless these people are KDP certified it could prove difficult. So, take the time and find out if they have worked with KDP, because KDP has criteria that must be met.

Professional designers offer their services at varying prices. Just because someone offers their services at a high cost does not mean that their services are better than anyone else’s. Check out their work.

Here’s thought. Why not make use of istock, pexels, pixabay, or others. Then upload to KDP the picture you bought or downloaded. Then let KDP do the rest.

I’ve done it. They also let you upload of bio picture of yourself along with a short biography and a description of the book. Then they let you know if you need to do more work on any of those items. When done, you have a quality book cover.

There you have it. Six basic steps to help you get started. There are several more items we didn’t discuss, such as ISBN, color vs. B&W, and more. But KDP will work with you on that as will just about any publisher that exists.

Find out the difference between Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Indie Publishing. I’ve written about this subject in the past. And remember this, Indie Publishing means you have more responsibility, better royalties, and, of course, more work to do. Why not be an Indie?

If you are listening to this podcast, it has been brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.