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).

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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.

Publishing with Create Space

FeaturedPublishing with Create Space

Last Friday I was helping a friend set up a publishing platform. So I thought it appropriate to discuss Publishing With CreateSpace. This may end up being multiple parts, but here goes.

Why Should You Avoid the Big Publishers?

That’s a good question. There are of course good reasons for using the big publishers, more often known as traditional publishers. In brief, they are established and well known, which gives them a marketing edge and they pay royalties, sometimes good ones. But beyond that they are the ones who are in control and reap the profits.

Traditional publishers exercise literary control. They decide whether your book will be accepted or not for publishing; they have control over the content; and they control most of the publishing process.

What About Self-Publishers?

When I started writing in 2003 I began with AuthorHouse. I was pleased with its quality, its low price (about $400 back then), and the guidance I received. But as time went on I became dissatisfied. At $400 per new book it wasn’t all that cheap.

Self-Publishers are better than traditional but they still have ultimate control. If you want to have control of your writing, publishing, and marketing then you need a different approach. That brings us to CreateSpace.

What is CreateSpace?

CreateSpace is a publishing platform that offers you the control you desire and, along with it, the ability to reap the profits. Would you like to start getting 35% royalties at the first printing? Or how about 70% royalty? Either one is possible.

When you publish your book through CreateSpace you can also transfer the document to KDP Kindle. However, I recommend publishing the Kindle version directly through KDP. Or you can begin the process through CreateSpace and once transferred to KDP, go to KDP and replace the content with content that has been customized for Kindle (ie., removing paging, headers, and anything else that is unnecessary for an ebook). I always copy the finished CreateSpace book to a name such as [Title] + “for Kindle” so that I have one for print and one for Kindle.

What Other Advantages are There?

With Self-Publishers you will probably pay for your ISBN number (either within price or extra), which is necessary if you want to sell your book to libraries, schools, or even worldwide. CreateSpace will provide FREE ISBNs or they will sell you one. The CreateSpace ISBNs automatically are eligible for Expanded Distribution which allows for CreateSpace Direct (wholesale, etc.), Bookstores and Online Retailers (e.g., Barnes and Noble, Ingram, and NACSCORP.), as well as Libraries and Academic Institutions through Baker & Taylor.

It all depends on your needs. Generally, I have found their free ISBN to be what’s needed.

Another advantage is the Photo Gallery. While it is not extensive and, in my opinion, needs to be expanded, the gallery provides many photos that can be used as covers. And if you have a photo you’d like to use they allow you to upload it (needs to meet their standards). Or you can hire someone to make a CreateSpace compatible cover for you. Except for a few rules, you have control.

You have control over the size of your book, and the pricing of your book. Over and over again, you are given the tools to exercise control. And for the most part, it is free!

How Do I Set Up a CreateSpace Account?

It’s actually pretty easy. You’ll need an email account, which will serve as your ID, plus you will need bank account information so that they can pay you your royalties. There may be some tax questions as well. Those are the essentials. After that it is simply following the prompts and answer questions.

How Do I publish a Book?

Again, it is easy. You sign in and are taken to the MAIN PAGE. Here you will select Add a Book. Once you have selected this you will be given a choice of how to proceed in creating your book. You will want to take the guided tour.

Each step of the way you will be guided and asked questions. The first decision will be the Title information. Title information is required and can be changed. It is necessary for you to receive an ISBN number. Once you’ve created a title and selected what type ISBN you want you will save the progress. From that time on the ISBN cannot be changed; it is locked in. However, you can change the title information.

To upload a book it may require a PDF manuscript. Simply save your Word copy to PDF and upload that version.

Do You Recommend CreateSpace?

Since we created T&R Independent Books we have found CreateSpace to be an excellent publishing platform. It works very well for us. We have used it since 2014 and plan on continuing to use it going forward. Your needs may differ from ours so you will need to make that decision yourself.

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.

Full Time

Full Time

Serving the Lord is always a full time job, but choosing to serve Him full time in a specific job, ministry, or activity is a choice that needs much prayerful considerations. An example of this is my recent retirement from one type of service (church financial secretary) to serve in another area. Although the idea floated around in my mind for years, it was a year ago that I decided it was time.

How did I know? Well, there were signs along the way, the most prominent being the after results of a 2014 heart attack. That prompted my wife to suggest I needed to consider retiring when I reached 75 (which I just did). But while that was important it was the physical and mental results of the heart attack that really spoke loud and clear to me.

When I first became a church financial secretary up in Michigan, my pastor pointed out to me that the management of church finances was different than managing business finances. You’re managing God’s money! Which means that whereas a business can accept and even write-off errors, there is no room for errors in God’s economy. I bought into this and believe it to be true to this very day. But after my heart attack I found I could not focus as sharply or as long as previously and mistakes were being made. This was unacceptable. So in May of 2017 I informed my pastor I would be retiring in May 2018.

That day has come. But God didn’t call me to retire to sit around doing nothing. He has work for me to do. And the direction He wants me to go has become apparent in recent years although I’m still learning what that entails.

Having now retired from my part-time job of Financial Secretary I am now a full-time writer, whereas before I was a part-time writer. But time is not the only thing that has changed. For example, while I will continue writing this blog I plan for it to be far more active than once a week. More on that later.

In short, my efforts in writing, publishing, and marketing are going to require greater diligence. That means a restructured daily life. Whereas before these duties were primarily done “when opportunity arises,” which often meant working evenings as well as daytime, now I need to have a more structured schedule. I need to have daily priorities.

What makes this more difficult is that working for the church I had three different men I reported to, one of which was my supervisor or boss. While he trusted me and allowed me great freedom, he was still my immediate boss. But now I’m the boss. That means I am not only responsible to myself, but for myself. Technically my wife, who is President of T&R Independent Books, is my boss but I have almost unlimited freedom to pursue our goals concerning the business.

But my real Boss is the Lord Himself. That hasn’t changed. Nor has His direction except that it is and I expect it will increasingly be more specific.

One of the changes being made is the name of this blog. First, it is necessary to have a name that more accurately portrays the blog; and second, it should be easier for people to find the blog. Previously this blog has been known as So You Want to Write and now is So You want to Serve. Both titles represented my interests. But sometimes I wander into other areas of interest including politics. Over the years I’ve blogged about serving, writing, business, politics, and the Bible.

So A New Name is Required

That new is not really all that new. It is actually found in my url address. Look at it and you’ll see RFrederickRiddleBlog. Best practices suggest that this should be the name I adopt and market. So beginning with my next blog it will be called R Frederick Riddle Blog.

Profound, isn’t it?

But honestly this will enable me to continue connecting with people like you and with new people. There may also be additional changes coming in the future but these are barely concepts right now. One difference you will notice is the frequency. Instead of once or twice a week my goal is to blog Monday through Friday. Watch and see how successful I am at meeting this goal.

So welcome to R Frederick Riddle Blog.

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 New Year’s Message

A New Year’s Message

Soon we will be entering the year 2017. Before taking a look at what we might expect in the new year, let’s take a look at 2016.

2016 was a very active year, although it didn’t start out that way. It was for us a normal year until March when we bought ourselves a new (for us) 2013 Ford Fiesta. While a great car, it was God’s miraculous hand in our getting it that really stood out. But that is not the subject of today’s blog.

Instead we are looking at T&R Independent Books, our adventure in self-publishing.

Here is how 2016 unfolded:

  • August/SeptemberT&R Independent Books bought the publishing rights to Perished. This was the foundational book of The World That Was series.
  • October T&R Independent Books published the rewritten and reformatted Perished. This was the publisher’s first novel.
  • NovemberPerished was placed in the KDP Select program.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books published Noah and the Ark, book two of The World That Was series.
  • DecemberT&R Independent Books began seriously getting ready to publish Tress Riddle’s debut novel sometime in January 2017.

As can be seen T&R Independent Books has had a rush of activities in the latter half of the year. It has truly been an exciting and busy year. Behind the scenes Tress Riddle has been working on her first novel, a mystery aimed at teens and young adults.

Also during this past year we have witnessed an explosion politically thinking. In Britain they had the Brexit  vote and in America we had the rise of Donald Trump. In both cases the average citizens revolted against the political elite demanding that they be heard and represented.

Whatever you may think of President-elect Trump he was wise enough to hear the rumblings and tap into them. Here are a few reflections:

  • NovemberDonald Trump won the national election for President of the United States.
  • NovemberUninformed men and women took to the streets and rioted in protest. This represented a national disgrace in our education system as the protestors showed their ignorance of the United States government. (We are a representative democracy, not a pure democracy where popular vote dominates.)
  • November3rd party candidate pushed for meaningless but costly recounts. Results were essentially the same.
  • DecemberTrump begins assembling cabinet showing that he actually intended to keep his campaign promises.
  • DecemberTrump won the Electoral College vote.

If I was writing on political issues I would spend some time addressing the lack of knowledge some people have demonstrated. As mentioned, our country is a representative democracy – a fact our citizens should have learned in high school! It was so designed to prevent large populous states from ruling the country (there are only four or six states that fit that bill) and from anarchy that often comes from pure democracy.

However, this is a blog on writing, so let’s move on.

I am really proud and excited about the achievements of T&R Independent Books! Founded in 2014 by my wife and myself, T&R had to withstand my heart attack and much foundational matters for the fledgling business. But 2016 has been a breakout year for the business.

I have now had three books published by T&R Independent books: So You Want to Write? (2015), Perished (2016), and Noah and the Ark (2016). In the meantime, my wife has been working hard on her debut novel which will soon (probably January) be published.

So what are my predictions for 2017?

Here’s a list of possibilities:

  • Publication of Tress Riddle’s debut novel.
  • Rewrite and publish So You Want to Write? with new material.
  • Write and publish book 3 of The World That Was.
  • Tress Riddle’s second novel published.

These represent another active year for the Riddle family. Sandwiched in-between are a variety of marketing events. Plus a renewed commitment to this blog.

I am seriously looking into adding video blogs to this blog. I plan to explore the idea of interviewing other authors, plus have videos on writing techniques and aids. I have the capability, but it comes down to cost versus effectiveness.

We wish all of you a happy New Year.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured in greater detail.

Are you a Real Author? Part II

Are you a Real Author? Part II

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the second question:

DO YOU HAVE A PLATFORM?

Different people have different ideas about what a platform is. Here is my definition: A platform is a website, a blog, and social media.

A Website

I’ve talked about this before, but it cannot be overstated. An author needs to have a website. And not just any old website. An author needs to own a website.

Now this can have different connotations, so let me be specific. An author should have an website that reflects who they are. This can mean:

  • A website that reflects the book you’ve written
  • A website that reflects your name or alias
  • A website that reflects the you as an independent author.

For example, a website that reflects your book’s name will work if you have written only one book and won’t be writing new books. But if you write more than one book, such a website would be poor. Instead, you will want the website to reflect you as an author. By reflecting I mean both the domain name and the content would emphasize you as an author. I have used RFrederickRiddle.com as my website name.

However, when we founded T&R Independent Books and I decided to set up a new website, I created a typical publisher’s website where the author has his or her own pages. My former website RFrederickRiddle.com redirects to my author’s pages on the publisher website.

The important thing is that you want critical information within the domain name. In my former website it included my name and my new pages also include my name. This is a very important consideration, so if you have not done so yet, seriously consider it.

For more indepth wisdom check out my blog article, Hosting Your Website.

A Blog

As you know my blog’s url is RFrederickRiddleBlog.com. It tells the potential reader who I am and that it is a blog.

Your blog does not have to be about writing, but it should be about something you know and can be passionate about. And it should interest readers.

Social Media

You need to have a social media presence. While you don’t need to use everything that’s available, you should certainly be on at least two social media platforms. I use Twitter and Facebook, plus Goodreads and Bublish. Some authors also like LinkedIn, although that is primarily aimed at business to business.

It is not necessary to spend every minute of the day on your social media, but you should be active.

Why Is Having A Platform So Important?

Because people want to know about you and your book(s). And you want people to know about you and your books. Social Media provides excellent opportunities to self promote both yourself and your book.

Take a moment or two and tell us about your platform.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1) can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Your #1 Writing Problem!

As you may know my blog So You Want To Write? deals with the how of writing. Today I am giving you the opportunity to voice your opinion about YOUR problems when writing. What are they? How do you handle them? What is your greatest need? What topics would you like covered in the future?

When responding please include your name and email address.

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So You Want To Write? is a blog written by R. Frederick Riddle – author, editor, instructor. He is co-founder of T&R Independent Books, instructor at Authors Academy and the author of several books.

For more information you can contact him at information@rfrederickriddle.com. Please indicate question in subject line.

What About Characters?

What About Characters?

Last week I discussed Genre. I thought about continuing that discussion with more in-depth information on the different types of genre. But I decided to move on to developing characters. This blog is not meant to be a training program. There is more involved than can be revealed in a blog. For actual training you might want to check out Authors Academy (and get a free book on Setting Up Your Business).

As I said, I will now talk on character development.

It is well to consider that your characters are human and humans have desires and flaws. When creating a character make him/her as real as possible.

For example, mankind has a perpetual desire to return to the innocence of the Garden of Eden. Some people believe this and some don’t, but all have it. Some even envision an idyllic world where man is at peace with his surroundings, himself, and with God.

How does this impact a novel? The truth is that every novel ever written or to be written is impacted in some way. The degree of impact will depend on the author’s understanding of that desire and ability to put it to paper.

The exciting thing is that your fictional characters start out with nothing and you can build on that. Then again, your character may be a real person. In the book Perished: The World That Was many of the characters were real, lifted right off the pages of the Bible.

Therefore some characteristics or traits were already known. Even so I was able to take those few facts and develop the characters further.

In the case of Adam there was a constant inner desire to return to the Garden where he walked with God. But that was impossible. So what did he do? In Perished he built a small garden within his home and called it Little Eden. It was a place for quiet meditation or important meetings. That yearning was never really addressed but it expressed itself several times within the story.

Principle

Build on what is known.

If the character is drawn from history, you should be able to discern some of his/her characteristics. But don’t stop there. Using what you know and your imagination try to put yourself in that character’s situation. How does he/she react to change? What is her/his temperament?

For example, in Perished: The World That Was I knew certain things about Adam and Eve. They were created perfect, they sinned, and were expelled from the garden. I also knew that both tried to blame someone else for their sin (and ultimately blamed God). Then of course I knew they became parents, suffered the tragedy of Abel’s murder by Cain, and had to start their family all over.

But these facts raised questions. Did they miss the garden? Where and how did they live? What was their reaction to Abel’s murder? And many more questions.

Answering those questions rounded out the lives of both Adam and Eve. Although no mention is made of it in history, I had Adam build a house with a small courtyard that he called Little Eden. Here he would go to meditate, pray, and have meetings with the VIPs of the day. All based on my stepping into his shoes and asking, Would I have missed Eden? The answer was a definite YES.

If your character is entirely fictional you can create whatever characteristics you want. Just be careful and review them. You don’t want to create a character that is unbelievable. Again, place the character in different situations and imagine how he/she would react. Basically it is the same as with a real person, except that here you have a clean slate.

If you are a beginning or established writer you already have one of the tools to do this – it’s called your imagination.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Book Marketing: An Introduction

Book Marketing: An Introduction

In today’s blog I am beginning a series on book marketing. My goal is to provide you with some solid content that you can use. I may discuss different tools you can use or resources that are available to you.

I plan for this series to appear on Fridays.

Let’s get started.

Any new series needs an introduction. So here goes.

Shortly after writing my first novel I came face to face with the realization that most, if not all, the marketing was up to me. While publishers will offer tools you can use, they don’t normally do the marketing unless you happen to be a celebrity.

My first experience in marketing was Book Signing. Back then you went to a local bookstore and offered them a share of the profits if you could have a table. The concept being they order the books, the customer buys them, and you sign or autograph them.

Simple, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

The first problem I came up against was the bias against self-published books. Some stores simply weren’t interested, while others had to be convinced. So I quickly learned to do my homework and find out what my publisher’s book return policy was (this was a major issue with the stores).

But eventually I did get into some stores.

The next thing I learned was that each store has a different policy. In one store I shared a table with another author, while in another store I had my own table. Another fact I learned was that you were assigned a four hour space of time. This was fairly uniform with all the stores.

Was it successful?

Depends on what you mean by successful. Did I sell a ton of books? No, but such expectations are unrealistic. Book signing is low volume. By that I mean that unless you are a celebrity the number of books sold at a book signing is relatively low. In my case, I probably averaged about 5 per hour for 4 hours.

How did it work?

The book store would order the books and provide them to me for the four hours I was there. Customers would come up to the table, take a book, go to the cashier, and purchase the book. Then they came to me for the book to be signed.

Another way was for me to sign the book and then they would take it to purchase. But there was a big problem with that scene. Once, maybe twice, I had someone come to my table, say they were going to purchase my book, and I signed it. Then they left. Later the signed book was found on a shelf by a clerk and returned to me. It was basically useless because it was signed and maybe included the person’s name. Not recommended.

Book signing is still valid. It is still hard to get into stores, especially chains. Not because of bias, although that still exists, but with chains you often have to contact the corporate office and get approved. That said, if you are an author it is still worth your while.

Why?

Because it is personal. People can personally meet you and get your signature. It is also usually local, which enhances your local reputation.

Just remember not to focus all your time on it. In today’s internet world you need to spend your time on the internet. But more on that in another blog.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.