The Authors Business

FeaturedThe Authors Business

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Authors Business, part 1 of 2.
You’re thinking I’m not interested in a business. I just want to write and sell books. But surprise, it is a business! While writing can certainly be fun (it is for me) it can also be profitable. And for that reason alone you need to think of your writing career, no matter how many books it entails, as a business.
The Government thinks you’re a business.
That’s right. When you do your income taxes and show that you made money through royalties or the sale of your books, the government regards that, and you, as a business. So you should also!
Actually your Business includes the authorship, publishing and marketing of your book(s). And like any business you need to think like a businessman or businesswoman. And this thinking will impact your whole life.
For example, do you dress like a businessperson?
I am speaking of what you wear in public, especially when you are out in the public signing books, being interviewed, etc. I dress casually in normal situations, but if I am marketing myself, I wear a shirt and tie, at least. Your appearance matters whether you think it should or not. If you are attending a book club or making a speech or doing an interview how you dress makes a difference.
As a general rule I’d recommend business casual. You might consider business attire (suit & tie for men, dress for women) or something a little more casual yet still reflecting that you are serious about your business. In previous videos that I made I opted for a shirt and tie. It suggests business without being overpowering.
What about having an Office?
That depends on you. I have an office at home although I have considered having an actual office independent of my home. There would be certain advantages, but it is not necessary. The whole matter comes down to what works best for you. Some writers like a formal setting like an office, while others prefer a more casual setting. I’ve found that I can write in just about any place.
Publishing nowadays requires access to the Internet. You can get that just about anywhere. So if you are a publisher your manner of dress may not be important unless you are meeting someone formally in the course of business.
How do you carry yourself?
Another aspect of thinking like a businessperson is how you carry yourself. This is something I had to learn. Slouching, hands in pockets, and staring at your feet are not positive selling points. I wasn’t that bad, but I did have to learn to not only be confident, but to act confident (although not overbearing).
But the concept goes deeper than clothing and acting like a businessman. It also includes having an idea of how you are going to run your business. For example, you have a book. Who’s going to publish it? How do you plan on selling it?
In our case we created our own publishing business, T&R Independent Books. The T stands for Teresa and the R for Ron. We are the exclusive publishers of our books. I have blogged in the past about having your own publishing business and probably will again. But for today I will just say that it gives you all the power and all the profits but also entails you doing all the work. We use CreateSpace and KDP as our publishing platform.
There are a number of items you need to know to be a successful businessman. Before moving on lets nail down the concept itself.
When I think of myself as a businessman, I have several pictures in mind. I see myself being interviewed about topics other than my books. I see myself as someone people respected and wanting to know. I also see myself making decisions, supporting charitable works, and so forth.
Face it you’re a businessperson. Face it and embrace it!
Next week we’ll take another look at your business.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Authors Website

FeaturedAuthors Website

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Authors Website.
Perhaps you are a new author and have decided to build a website or you have one up and running. There is much advice floating around about website design. Some is very good and some not so much. After seventeen years of working my own website, I have identified five critical website design issues.
You may have additional ideas and I welcome your comments. But here are mine.
The Home Page
This is regarded as the most critical page because this is where your visitors will most likely land. And this is true whether you have one or more home pages.
More than one?
Yes. As an Independent author I am also an independent publisher. Therefore, I have designed my website as a publisher’s site, and every author (all two of us) have their own Home page, plus more.
The Home page is where you want your usual visitors to come to. Therefore, you will have most or all of your marketing linked to that page. If the visitor Google’s your name (author’s name) it should bring the potential customer to your (the author’s) Home page.
Now, as I mentioned our website is actually tied to T&R Independent Books – the publisher of our books. Like other publishers we then have “home” pages for the authors. For this to work the authors need to be:

  1. Identified on the Main Landing page
  2. Be accessible from the Main Landing page
  3. Have their own pages where their books are featured
  4. Author’s Home page should be accessible directly from Internet

On this page (whether site’s home page or author’s) it is always wise to employ good SEO practices. As you build your site you may want to see how well you are doing. I recommend Website Grader, which you can use for free.
The Url
The Url is critical. Put a lot of thought into this. Among the things to consider is whether you are a one book author or you have or will write more books. If you write multiple books, you will want to use your author’s name in your url. The exception would be like a publisher’s site. But even then you want a url that goes to the author page, such as r.-frederick-riddle-books.html. If you are doing your own publishing don’t forget the primary site. Click on the link above to see the full url. You can also give out a bit.ly shortcut.
Most of you will have your own personal site. You might wonder why it has to be your name and not the name of a book. Simple. As you write more books you want people to know your name. People may seek a particular book title, but as your name recognition grows they will seek your name.
The About Page
The About page is very important because you want the visitor to know as much about you as you can reveal. How much you reveal is up to you, but a variety of experts say we should include our bio (of writing career), education, awards (if any), and a peak into your personal life.
Only reveal that which you want people to know. And please don’t include your Social Security Number or other potentially vital information.
The Store Page and/or Book Page
A Store page is very important if you sell on site. I would recommend that you also have a Book page where visitors can learn about your books. If not selling on site, it is important to have links from each book to the site(s) where it is sold.
A Book page should include a Cover photo, a description of the book, important stats (such as publisher, author, title, ISBN, and ASIN) and, of course, the links.
Media Page
Aside from potential buyers, you also want the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) to also visit your site. This page is designed to provide them as much information as possible without their having to search the site. Some of the things included is a listing with links of every book you’ve written, a photo of you (a professional photo is recommended), links to any blogs you may have written, links to such things as Press Releases and other marketing sites where you are active.
Contact Page
Even if not selling directly, you need this page. It provides an opportunity for your visitors to talk to you. Perhaps they have questions about you, your books, or even an opportunity for your book to be marketed or turned into a movie.
These are only five ideas, but you might want to also include a Blog page (assuming you write a blog). But the five listed above are absolutes. You need these. Seek expert advice and don’t be afraid to visit other authors websites for ideas. This will combine a visual with the technical advice available all over the web.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Revising a Published Work

FeaturedRevising a Published Work

Today I am writing about Revising a Published Work.
Before I became an Indie Publisher I had the frustration of finding mistakes in my books that got through the editing process. And to correct and republish the book would have cost me money.
One of the great benefits of being an Indie Publisher is the ability to edit and republish.
Yeah, but that probably is expensive.
Not at all. For example, I published Death Ship earlier in the year but I had not done the proper title research. I discovered there are several books out there called Death Ship. So I pulled the book (unpublished it), retitled it, and republished it. At no cost to me!
Try doing that with a Traditional Publisher or Self Publisher.
How much work did it require?
That actually depends on the changes to be made. In the case of the retitled book I also made a few changes internally, but nothing extensive. The whole process was smooth and easy to do.
So, how do you do it?
If you’re like me you still think about your book after you’ve published it. It’s one of those ‘I wish I had done’ type of things. Or if you have someone reviewing your book they may point out a mistake or problem. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you republish every time you have an error, but the thing is you can. What a powerful thing that is!
Another example could be you wanted to update your Front or Back Matter. Again, you can unpublish and then republished after you’ve updated the book.
What about Sales?
Good question. When you unpublish a book it is no longer available for sale. If you are unpublishing an eBook which is in the Kindle Select program, the older version stays in the program until the program time run out.
That is why I don’t recommend republishing often. I only republish if I feel it is necessary.
In Conclusion:
Republishing is a valuable tool that you as an Indie Publisher have at your disposal. Use it wisely.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

CreateSpace Revisited

FeaturedCreateSpace Revisited

I’ve been writing about the different methods of publishing. I have referred at times to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, which I have been very pleased with.
That said I feel it important to revisit the topic because CreateSpace is undergoing changes. Some services they once offered are being dropped.
Now, in all honesty, these changes so far don’t affect me. For instance, they have dropped the service where you could get professional help with your manuscript for a special price. I never used this or other similar services they offered. But it may affect you.
So what should I do?
Just because CreateSpace no longer provides a certain service doesn’t mean you can’t use CreateSpace. To get professional help in any area of writing you can find it on the Internet for a price. So it will cost more, but that’s true no matter what platform you are using. Professional help is rarely free!
So Google (search) for the kind of service you want. Just make sure that the service is familiar with and compatible with CreateSpace. If you do that, then you should be fine. Just keep a sharp eye on the service provider.
What about KDP?
KDP or Kindle Direct Printing is also an Amazon company. You can first have your book done as an eBook and then converted to a printed book. At the moment, in my opinion, they don’t quite match up with CreateSpace, but that could change at any time.
Check them out. Find out which platform works the best for you. And don’t forget that you can always change your mind. For example, all my books currently being written are designed with CreateSpace in mind. But I could change my mind and change to KDP. Some changes would need to be made, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
When I have CreateSpace do my book I then have them export it to KDP.
But I then import to KDP an edited version of the manuscript reformatted for Kindle. The reason is that eBooks don’t need headings and/or footings nor page numbers. These need to be removed. Otherwise the eBook may not be displayed in its best appearance.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

A Look at Indie Publishing

FeaturedA Look at Indie Publishing

Indie Publishing is relatively new. You might call it the baby of the family. This is real self publishing. Let’s take a look.
Advantages: (same as self publishing)

  • No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  • Virtually able to have book published.
  • Author owns ISBN.
  • Royalty paid.

Advantages in addition to above:

  1. No contract
  2. Published within days
  3. Growing number of publishing formats
  • CreateSpace
  • Kindle Direct Platform
  • Others
  1. Select either 35% or 70% royalty
  2. Control throughout
  3. Minimum requirements by platform
  4. Ability to retire a book
  5. Ability to edit and republish a book
  6. Ability to not only set prices but to change prices
  7. FREE

Disadvantages:

N/A

In 2014 Teresa and I formed our own publishing company: TR-Independent Books. Although getting up and running was time consuming we have not regretted it. Since that time I have purchased the rights to and republished Perished; I have republished one book under a new title; and I am publishing other books.
In addition, I am working on developing a catalog that will enable prospective buyers, including bookstores, to see what we are offering.
I would recommend to anyone that they seriously consider being an Indie Publisher. Yes, it will require more work, but it  also gives you control throughout the process. And that is important.
Try this simple quiz:

  • Do I control the editing services? Yes
  • Do I control review time of a Proof before returning it for correction or publication? Yes
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it? Yes
  • If so, how much does it cost? Free
  • How much help do I get marketing the book? Various free tools
  • What do the marketing tools cost? Some are free.

These and other questions need to be answered. And I think you’ll be pleased with the answers. Perhaps the biggest advantage that Indie Publishing has, other than control, is the cost. You can publish an entire book free of charge or you can pay a little. Again you have control!
Here are some facts to consider:
An Indie Publishing company is the author who now has virtual control over every aspect of publishing. That includes the cover, the back cover, any pictures within the book, and, to some extent, the text itself. Basically the author has the power.
Self-publishers generally don’t do marketing. But they do provide tools at a cost that you can use. This may include such things as banners, magazine ads, newspaper ads, and more. All for a price.
But Indie Publishing is different! You, the author, become your own agent, publisher and marketer. This means you have greater flexibility in choosing who prints your book. You control virtually all aspects of the printing process.
In addition, you control the marketing. Let me point out that you have greater responsibility as well as power. But when you become your own publisher doors of opportunity open allowing you to use the same tools you have been paying the self-publishers to use. You not only do the work, you make the decisions!
And you reap the rewards!
Happy Indie Publishing!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Why I Self-Publish

FeaturedWhy I Self-Publish

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 we discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet. The upshot of that meeting was the establishment of T&R Independent Books.

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 control the content
  • They control the cover
  • They determine 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 varies 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). Three days may sound like a lot. But if the publisher made errors, which in this case they did, the finding and correcting  could be extensive, which it was. As a result I was only able to make a limited number of corrections and then it was published. And once published I could not make any corrections without going through the submission process again including paying money!

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?

In last week’s Free[dom} of CreateSpace I spoke about the Cover Creator and the Photo Gallery. I won’t go into all the details again other than to say I can use one of their free pictures or I can upload a picture of my own. I don’t have to deal with the publisher to get permission like I did with my previous self-published books with a publisher. Even though I had a certificate proving I owned the rights, they rejected the photo and the certificate. But as the publisher I can use them.

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.

Have you considered publishing your book yourself?

More and more authors are discovering the value of a DIY (Doing It Yourself) approach. Yes it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.