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How Can I Create a Bookstore?

The big question is how can I create a Bookstore? The answer is that there are a number of ways to do so, but I will focus on how I did it.

In a previous blog I discussed A Business of My Own. That focused on the founding of T&R Independent Books by my wife Teresa (Tess) and myself (R. Frederick). Today, I take a deeper look into the website itself.

But before starting, let me say that there are professionals that will design your website for you. These are available online and the costs vary. I chose to build my website, but you might want to consider a professional. Even so, reading this blog may give you ideas that you can convey to that professional.

I love writing and in many ways creating a website involves writing. There was a time when I worked with BASIC engines to develop programs designed to help me do a job. I no longer do that since the coding has far outgrown my abilities. But it did provide me a foundation knowledge of what can be done. So, I have used the tools available to build my own website.

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.

There are a good number of fine website hosts which I believe I have previously discussed in some detail. Check the archives for more information.

I chose WordPress for my host because of the ease of use and because I was already using it for my blog. So, I moved to WordPress and began building my new site. This began a few years ago, but last year (2020) I really made a big upgrade!

Let’s take a look at some of the tools I used and still use.

Plan – WordPress offers four plans: Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce. Up until last year I was using Premium, but I upgraded to Business. One of the reasons was that I wanted to have an online bookstore providing visitors with a easy to view and use website. Someday, I may upgrade to eCommerce but to tell you the truth, I am very pleased with Business. If you read their descriptions, Business is considered best for small business, which I am, on the other hand, eCommerce is considered best for online stores, which I have. But I opted for the Business Plan, and I believe it was the best choice for me.

WooCommerce – Shortly after upgrading I got the WooCommerce plugin. This is a very popular plugin that is designed to work with either WordPress Business or WordPress eCommerce. I only began working with it this year and I have been very impressed with the ease of use. I am still in the learning curve, which might mean future changes to the website.

This tool enabled me to create a bookstore, but more on that later.

StoreFront – This is the theme. It is available for either Business or eCommerce. This is an important theme in that it enables you to create a site that looks and feels like a storefront. Products are categorized, priced, and displayed along with a Shopping Cart.

The Shopping Cart interfaces with my PayPal enabling me to receive, process, and fulfill orders.

All-in-One SEO (AiOSEO) – If you are building a website of any size that you need good SEO designs and tools. I downloaded and installed this tool and have seen my pages and posts improved dramatically in appearance and other factors.

Simple Banner – This is another plugin that enables me to let my customers know about a new deal, a discount, featured books, etc. It is easy to use and allows me flexibility in positioning and readability.

Products – This tool gives me complete control over my products. I can control the image, category, stock availability, price including discounted price, item number, whether a book is featured or not, date, stats, likes, and AiOSEO. Plus, I have control which of these are shown to me in a glance and I can change the view whenever I want.

Categories (under Products) – I can create new categories with a hierarchy. This can be important.

Discounts – All books in our bookstore are discounted. I want people to know that T&R Independent Bookstore is a discount store. Not only are all books discounted, but we have times when selected books or book have special discounts.

Shipping and Taxes – Being able to control shipping costs and taxes is something I value. It gives me greater latitude to offer customers special deals.

Obviously, I didn’t do this all-in-one day or even in a relatively short span. It took most of last year, plus there were upgrades previously from my original WordPress website. It involved dedication and hard work, but I am extremely pleased with the look and feel of my storefront.

Come on in and explore the site. We not only have a bookstore that features our books, but we also have a place where you can learn about writing, publishing, and marketing your book. It is called TR Services and it is aimed at the first-time author, the experienced author, and the struggling author. We believe that everyone has a book within them and deserves the chance to publish their book. Our motto is: We edit, proof, & publish the book within You! See you there!

If there is the slightest chance that you might write a book, whether many or just one, visit us and take advantage of our knowledge. The information is free and helpful, and our plans are designed for your budget. Periodically, I will either upgrade 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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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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Basic-30 Press Release

T&R Independent Books Expands Service with Basic-30 Plan

VP Ronald Riddle Announces Basic-30 Plan for Beginning Authors with same great service and personal attention. By: T&R Independent Books PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.July 9, 2021PRLog — Ronald Riddle, Vice President of T&R Independent Books and Editor of TR Writing Services, announced that the company, founded in 2014, is adding a new plan to their offerings. TR Writing Services was launched in 2019 with Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Plans, but the new plan being launched is called Basic-30. This new plan replaces Custom 120 and Custom 150 which were limited to the author seeking private publishing of their book(s).
According to Mr. Riddle, “This new plan allows the beginner, who may be intimidated by the 50,000 word threshold, to publish books of considerably smaller size. This includes a smaller book size of 5×8 instead of 6×9, although this can be changed at client’s request.”
He added, “Basic-30 provides, at a very low price, the same great quality service of the other plans, thus enabling greater flexibility on the part of the client.”
Plan details are as follows:
* Plan Name: Basic-30
* Minimum Pages: 72
* Maximum words: 30,000
* Editing: Yes
* Proofing: Yes
* Personal Promotion Page: Yes
* Format: Paperback
* Format: Hardcover
* Format: eBook: Available
* Retail: $95
* Contact: marketing@TR-Indbkstore.com
* Website: https://rfrederickriddleblog.com/

Media Contact
TR-Writing Services
Ronald Riddle
***@tr-indbkstore.com

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Reviewing Books

The Riddle Report 06 14 2021

You are an author, and you want to get your book reviewed. Have you ever considered reviewing other authors’ works? If you have the skill to write a book it is possible you may have the skill to review a book. That said, there are a few sand traps to avoid.

I said that if have the skill to write you may have the skill to review. But that is not always the truth. In writing a book you make a commitment to yourself, but in reviewing a book you are making a commitment to someone else. And that entails a sense of truthfulness and transparency.

Let me tell you a story as an example. I’ve actually told this story before so excuse me if you’ve heard it before. Back when I wrote Perished The World That Was, I sought Christian Fiction reviewers. And that proved to be a good mood as I received four- and five-star reviews!

But one reviewer gave me two stars and it is his story I am relating. He was a young man who I later determined was a teenager at that time. He professed he was a Christian and loved the Bible. Because my novel was based on world history as found in Genesis, I accepted him and sent him a copy.

After a few weeks I received his review where he gave the book only two stars. Now normally I would not be bothered by this low score. Why? Because you can’t please everyone. However, in this case he was honest enough to relate why he gave only two stars.

And early on the review showed that he didn’t follow the unwritten rules. What are these? Here are what I believe they are:

  1. You are committed to reading the entire book.
  2. You are committed not to skip.
  3. You are committed to finishing the book reading.
  4. You are committed an honest review.
  5. You are committed to being as transparent as possible.

This young man objected to the scene where Eve was created although the wording of that scene used similar descriptions as found in Genesis and in the Song of Solomon. This may have triggered his following actions:

  1. He began skipping through the novel.
  2. He came across characters who had the same name (these were real people taken straight from the Bible).
  3. He assumed that these all represented the same person.
  4. He eventually quit reading the novel.

As a result, he was confused and decided that I was inconsistent with the characters. That would have been a serious error on my part if true, but the error was his. For example, in the Bible and in my novel, there were two Enoch’s. Because he thought both were the same man, he assumed I had been inconsistent in their character.

His skipping around also disrupted any continuity he would have gotten by reading the entire novel. When you make a commitment to review somebody’s book you follow through. You don’t let your feelings stop you!

Honesty demands that you take the time to read the book in its entirety. I am currently reviewing a book and sometimes I come across language I object to. Honesty says I continue on. I can later point out these problems, but I’ve made a commitment to review the book, so I continue in my review.

His reactions convinced me that he was not fluent in the Bible. Later in his life I think he was better, but I don’t believe I ever used him again. I simply didn’t know if I could trust him.

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.

Should I Review Books?

The only person who can answer that is you. Ask yourself some questions, such as: Do I like to read? Am I willing to take the time to read the book? Can I give an honest review?

If you can respond “yes” to these questions, then try it out. In the end, you might throw up your hands in defeat or you may discover that you enjoy it. And if you do, you may gain a following.

As a reviewer you will want to use some of your editing skills. It is not your responsibility to do actually editing, but those skills will help you find areas where the author made mistakes and you can let him or her know of their errors in your review. It is important to remember that the author is relying on you to provide a review to help in marketing, but also help in writing.

As a reviewer you watch grammar, spelling, readability, consistency, and accuracy. For example, if you are reading historical fiction is the book historically accurate? Does the speech or manner of dress fit the period? Questions like these will help you in evaluating the story.

Finally, remember that in effect you are critiquing and promoting the book. Your words are directed at the author so he or she can improve, and, at the same time, your words are directed at potential readers, to encourage or discourage them about buying.

If you are new to reviewing, you might want to stick to the same genre you write in or genre you like to read. It could be just what you need.

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.

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Are Brick & Mortar Bookstores Dying?

The Riddle Report 04 2 2021

It has been evident for a long time that brick and mortar bookstores were declining and the culprit has been the Internet. However, despite media coverage suggesting that bookstores were dying, a resurgence started several years ago. Covid-19, also known as the Chinese Virus (it started in China), has had a crushing impact on almost all industries. But the bookstore industry seems to be coping and is ready to continue its comeback.

News Item #1 Overview

There is a long history of bookstores dating back hundreds of years. They were the primary, and sometimes only, venue for selling and buying books. When I started my writing career in 2003, bookstores were still the primary place to sell your books. And it was in bookstores that I conducted book signings.

At that time, it was getting more difficult primarily because the superstores dominated and could be picky about the books.

Sometime after that the brick & mortar stores began declining as the internet was growing and people found they could shop from home. Thus, began a deep decline that saw chains that once dominated going out of business. Borders, one of the largest superstore chains, eventually closed its doors. But others continued.

News Item #2 Decline

As mentioned above bookstores, and we are talking primarily of brick & mortar bookstores, went into decline. Here is Port Charlotte, Florida I understand that there were bookstores, including at least one Christian bookstore.

Shortly after arriving here in 2008 we discovered that the Christian store was gone, and the only general bookstore was Books-a-Million. That hasn’t changed much. A Christian bookstore did open up and operate for several years, but it too went out of business. Books-a-Million is still here.

Why?

Part of the reason is that the new Christian Bookstore only had a minimal presence on the internet. Basically, a single page providing directions and when open. I also suspect that the manager of the store underestimated the competition that the internet was bringing. I talked to him and he was quite confident, yet his confidence seemed to me to ignore or not be aware of the purchasing power, not to mention low overhead, of internet stores.

News Item #3 Comeback

We currently have two bookstores in Punta Gorda, Florida, which is right across the Peace River. Both are Independent and have an online presence that compliments the physical store. In addition, I know Copperfish makes use of emails, virtual events, and Zoom to list just a few innovations. And I believe all Indie Bookstores have similar methods of outreach.

The comeback of bookstores in general and Indie’s in particular began in 2016 or shortly after. That was the year that Family Christian went bankrupt and disappeared. But the vaunted age of eBooks didn’t happen quite the way anticipated. Yes, eBooks sell well, but they did not replace print books which still sell well.

And the bookstores, particularly Indie bookstores that included Church bookstores, learned to survive and thrive!

News Item #4 In The Year 2021

The year is still young, but bookstores are doing well. Indie bookstores have invested time, money, and energy in coping with the restrictions from the Chinese Virus. As a result, they are ready to continue the comeback. Locally, I have seen at least one bookstore expand its virtual offerings while moving to a new brick & mortar storefront.

Scanning the internet for information on bookstores I found optimism. And that speaks well of the industry.

News Item #4s What About the Internet

The internet is well and doing fine. Just as there are millions of people wanting to hold a book in their hand before buying, there are also millions of people willing to buy a book from the comfort of their homes. The internet and brick & mortar bookstores can coexist and, in some cases, have a foot in both segments.

Here at T&R Independent Bookstore and Services, we are looking forward to opening are own bookstore, TR Bookstore. It will be exclusively on the internet and, at least in the beginning, sell only our books. This will allow our books to be sold both at Amazon and at our bookstore, where they will be discounted.

So, in conclusion, I believe it is way too early to mourn the bookstores whether brick & mortar or internet. And neither should we mourn the eBook or the Print book. Both are doing fine!

So, if you are looking for a fine book to read go to your local bookstore or your internet bookstore (which when you think about it are also local).

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

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

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