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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. 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. 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 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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 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. 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 Drop in and check us out.

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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 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 and look at our catalog where you have links to

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

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 and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at 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 His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Lit Tip 09 10 20

Today’s Issue: Proofing

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

What is Proofing?

Google says, “a pre-publication version of your work. The purpose of a proof is so that you can check through everything before your work goes live.”

In other words, it is your last review and edit before publishing. This is a very critical step because some publishers will charge you if you want to make changes after publishing. If you use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) that is not a problem. More on that later.

I recommend the following steps for proofing:

  • Proof Copy
  • Cover to Cover
  • Chapter by Chapter
  • Upload
  • Publish
  • Get Published Book
  • Read

Proof Copy

With KDP you pay for the printing costs and shipping. That means it will probably cost lest than $10. The print copy is very important because it’ll look different than what’s on screen.

Cover to Cover

This is recommended so you read the book thoroughly. You will be checking the front cover, title page, copyright, dedication, Table of Contents, Body (actual story), About the Author, Other Books by Author, and back cover, plus other pages. Some experts suggest reading the book from the back to the front, so you don’t let the story distract you.


I make periodic uploads to KDP and preview on screen. That way I see the appearance of the book with all changes. May not be necessary, but it gives me a feel for how the corrections are going.


Once you’ve finished editing and if you don’t need to reedit or ask a third party to proof the book, then it is time to publish your work. If you have followed all these steps then your work should be ready for the world.

Get Published Book

Once you are published get at least one copy for yourself. If you are using KDP you can publish your work, discover a mistake then pause the book, edit, and republish. Or you can leave the book live, edit, and republish.

If it is a major rewrite, then you might want to indicate a  new version or re-title. Some publishers may not allow this without a fee.


Sit down, relax, and read it as though it was someone else’s book. If you don’t find any errors, then put it on your bookshelf. If you’re like me, you’ll eventually pick it up and read again. And you might think of new or additional scenes to add. And you can, because you are not only the author, but the publisher as well.


Every writer has their own ideas, but the above should help you get a strong start on your writing career.

Tip: Take Time and Thoroughly Proof Your Book

Get free Guide to Writing at

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 and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at 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 His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Tip of the Day eBook vs Print

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at eBook vs Print.

Both eBooks and Print books have value. With that in mind I do both. The fact is that eBooks while selling for less have the potential of bringing in top dollar. Print books bring in more per book and still carry a large percentage of books sold. But we live in the digital age now and the future would seem to lie with eBooks.

It is for that reason I do both.

Isn’t that difficult?

Not really. Typically, I write my story as a Print book. This means there will be headings, footers, page numbers, and more. Once I have done all the work on the book and published it as a Print book, I am free to create an eBook.

How do you do that?

The old way I did it was to remove all headers/footers. This also involves doing away with page numbers. With KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) the process is easy. Now I have a program called Kindle Create that does a lot of that work automatically. I can usually create an eBook of my Print book within a day.

How much does Kindle Create cost?

You can get Kindle Create for free. Simply download it and start working.

What does it cost to publish Print or eBooks with KDP?

The short answer is that the cost is free.

However, if you don’t want the free ISBN that is self-generated, you will have to buy it outside KDP and then provide the number to KDP. In the case of book covers, you can get a book cover elsewhere (which presumably will cost something) and use it. It must meet KDP standards.

Tip of the Day: Use Kindle Create to enable publishing both Print and eBooks on KDP.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at 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 have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.