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5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021

The Riddle Report 01 06 2021

Today I am writing about the pursuit of your writing career. The title is Be Proactive.

What do you mean?

One definition of proactive is: Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty. 2021 lies ahead of you. There are a lot of unknowns right now.

Take the election of the President. No matter the outcome of today’s voting, it is unlikely we will know who the next President is until the Supreme Court gets involved. There is a lot of evidence of voter fraud, certainly a great deal of mistrust of election results, and the abuse of power by state governors and their administrations.

That’s just one area of uncertainty. Connected to those issues you also have the economy, international relations, Covid-19, and so on. In other words, you, and all the rest of us, don’t know what 2021 will be like.

That being the case, I think we authors need to be proactively engaged. This blog contains 5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021.

  1. Budgeting

This involves looking back and forward. How did your writing budget work out last year. This would be a great time to analyze your success. While I am speaking of money, success has many faces.

You may not have made much money, but did you position yourself for success. In a moment we will talk about goals but positioning yourself involves financial investment for sure yet there is much more involved.

For instance, are you ready to write a new novel? I published some novels last year, but I have also laid the groundwork or have already started writing other novels. What about you.

If you been writing for any length of time you may have gotten to that stage where you can work on more than one novel at a time. If that is the case, it is a good thing. If you haven’t started working on the next novel, this would be a good time to start.

How about publishing and marketing? Now’s the time to start on them.

  • Goals

We hear about setting goals all the time and the reason is that goal setting can be very effective. Set short-term, intermediate term, and long-term goals.

For example, in locally marketing our TR Writing Services I began last year putting shoe leather to my marketing efforts. I began visiting local strip malls and getting out business cards and flyers to let people know about our products. I plan on continuing and expanding these efforts in 2021.

As for novels, I have three novels I am working on right now. All three were begun in 2020 and now being enhanced. In some cases, the novels may have major rewriting involved. Don’t know yet, but it is a possibility.

  • Writing

I just mentioned my plans for writing in the Goals segment. But being proactive requires more than just establishing goals. It involves actually doing some writing. Keep writing!

If you don’t have a plan for writing your books, develop one. It doesn’t have to be hard and fast, set in stone. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend that.

A better idea, specially if you are writing multiple books, is to work on one project and then switch to another. This will help keep your mind alert.

Plan ahead, maybe even schedule your books, but nothing set in stone.

  • Publishing

Publishing is a very important area. Have you decided to become an Indie Publisher? Whether you are traditional, self-publishing, or indie publishing, you need to start working on that now.

If traditional you need to have an agent who can find the right publisher for you. If you are going Self-Publishing you need the money so you can pay upfront (remember, it could be $800 or more). If Indie, it may not be money, but it could be getting all your pawns in order.

Whatever you plan on doing in 2021, now is the time to think about it and put your plans in action.

  • Marketing

Marketing is the final step. It involves advertising, selling, and record keeping. You may be one of those persons who can just do it and don’t need a calendar or some other reminder. Me, I need reminding.

And we all need good record keeping. I am not going to go into any detail on that because we all have different needs and expectations. But now is the time to get started!

Here at TR Writing Services, we stand ready to help you. Our motto is “We edit, proof, and publish the book within you.”  As for marketing, we can advise you and provide certain tools, such as your own dedicated book page that you can use to begin marketing. This page is free and designed to help your prospective reader to find and buy your book.

For more information see below.

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

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

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.

==========

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.

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Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing

The Riddle Report 01 02 2021

A new year has started, and you are dissatisfied with your writing career. Perhaps you are making money writing for someone else, but publishing books has not really happened for you. You wrote a book that you think is the all-American novel, but you can’t get it published.

You’ve tried the traditional press and they won’t look at your novel unless you have an agent. So, you went out and submitted your books to agents, most of whom turned their collective noses down on your book. And those interested were either in the wrong genre or too expensive.

What to do When Traditional Publishing Doesn’t Work.

There are several options, but we are only going to look at two: Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing.

Self-Publishing.

Self-Publishing has been around for a while. The name suggests that by using their service you are self-publishing your book. That you are in control.

This is not accurate. You, the author, are actually paying a publisher to publish your book and the publisher gets the benefits. Here’s a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  1. No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  2. Time from signing contract to actual publication usually only a few months.
  3. Virtually able to have book published.
  4. Author owns ISBN.
  5. Royalty paid.

Disadvantages:

  1. Publisher still in charge.
  2. Author gets low royalties, usually a formula that starts out at 8% or something similar.
  3. Marketing tools available with a price.

On the face of it self-publishing looks good for the author. And for some it probably is good. But if you want to have control of your book from creation to marketing, then there are problems. In the list of Disadvantages, I listed “Publisher still in charge” as the first disadvantage. Why? Because if the publisher is in charge of your book then you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

Try this simple quiz:

  • If I use their editing services, do I still have final say?
    • Most self-publishing companies offer their authors their editing services. In some cases. they may charge for it.
    • When I published my first book, I used a self-publishing company, but I chose to do my own editing. Why? Because I did not want them to make any corrections unless I agreed to it and I wasn’t convinced that they would do that.
  • How long do I have to review a Proof before returning it for correction or publication?
    • In self-publishing the publisher makes the rules. When I was with a self-publisher, I was given 72 hours to proof the book. Sounds like a lot of time, but you are proofing to find any and all mistakes. For example, I found errors that were repeated throughout the book. I found some and noted them, but not all. So, some errors remained in the published version.
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it?
    • Yes, if you are willing to pay for another book. Generally speaking, once your book is published, it is done.
  •  If so, how much does it cost?
    • This varies but I would estimate between $400 and $800 for one book.
  • How much help do I get marketing the book?
    • I didn’t get much. They did have a variety of tools I could purchase. But actual help, no.
  • What do the marketing tools cost?
    • That varies from publisher to publisher. In my opinion, too much.

Although the answers to the above questions are not ideal, self-publishing is still better than traditional publishing in that you do have more control than before and the book gets published faster.

INDIE Publishing

In 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I went out to lunch at a small McDonalds located in Murdock, part of greater Port Charlotte, and made a very important decision. As we sat there and discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers, although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet, we decided to establish our own publishing company called T&R Independent Books. The T was for Teresa and the R for Ronald.

Let’s look at the Why form our own publishing company.

Up to that time I had been publishing using what is commonly called self-publishing companies to publish my books. But as I studied these companies I discovered:

  • They controlled the content
  • They controlled the cover
  • They determined the royalties
  • I still had to do the marketing

In other words, while I had more freedom and control that I’d have with a traditional publisher I still didn’t really have control of anything. By going independent and truly publishing by myself, I would:

  • Have control over the content
  • Have control over the cover
  • Determine the royalties
  • Still do the marketing

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a control freak. Rather, I believe that if the author is going to invest his or herself into writing a book, any book, then they deserve to benefit from it.

Case in point. With traditional and self-publishing companies the average author’s royalties are scaled. It varied from publisher to publisher but in general it might go like this: 8% of retail for the first 2,500; 15% for the next 5,000; 25% thereafter. Now the numbers I just used may not be accurate (I did it from memory), but the concept is true.

But by doing my own publishing I can receive 35% or 70% right from the start! That is a major difference.

What about the content?

With traditional publishers you generally have to first go through an agent who then tries to find a publisher. The agent has certain criteria which may involve you changing the content. But just finding an agent can be long and frustrating. Then the agent gets to tell you whether the book is good enough for publishing based on their expertise.

Even self-publishers exert control. For example, say you are writing a book and you quote from the King James Version Bible. It is possible they will substitute a different version whether you agree or not. They may also reject passages they don’t like. In other words, just because you are pleased with your results they might not be and can act accordingly.

Another thing involved is the ability to correct. No matter how or to what extent you have had your book previewed and edited, there is always the chance of errors. Moreover, the publisher may have printing errors. I ran into this with my books. I was sent a ‘Proof’ copy and given about three days to review, find errors, make corrections, and return (electronically, of course). (For more on this see above in section about Self-Publishing.)

But by publishing the book myself I am able to take my time and do a more thorough job of previewing and editing. And, if there are still errors in the published version, I can correct the errors and republish at no cost to myself!

What about the Cover?

I have discussed Cover Creator in previous blogs, but Kindle’s Cover Creator and Photo Gallery provide free pictures or frames in which I can upload my own pictures. Moreover, if I am willing to hire someone to do a professional picture including the bar code, I can do that. Just have to meet KDP’s criteria.

And one last thing: Writing a book can be and is stressful; so is marketing. Having greater control over the publishing removes a lot of stress; and having greater control over price and royalties is far more rewarding.

The result is that you can approach marketing with far less stress than before.

Have you considered Indie Publishing?

More and more authors are discovering the value of the Indie approach. Yes, it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it. Go to our website and check out our videos, all free, that give you a head start on building your own writing and publishing business.

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

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

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.

==========

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.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Promotion

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

What is Promotion?

The term promotion means different things to different people, but the simple understanding is doing whatever it takes to get your book the attention it deserves!

What Works Best?

While that is a good question there is no absolute answer. I believe in absolutes. For example, it is an absolute truth to say people are saved from their sins by trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and asking Him to save you. That is absolute.

But success in life, especially marketing, has no absolutes although some marketeers will absolutely declare they have the perfect solution. Promotion has many tools, and some are better for some people, while others are good for someone else.

Tools

Promotion tools can be any or all of below or others not listed:

  • Author Book Signings
  • Author Interviews
  • Blogging
  • Bookstores
  • Book Tours
  • Press Release
  • Radio
  • Reviews
  • Social Media
  • Television
  • Trailers
  • Videos
  • Website

In Conclusion

The truth is that promotion must absolutely be done, but the most effective way for you may be entirely different than someone else.  Become acquainted with different tools, but a word of caution. Don’t become tool crazy. It can overburden you. Find what works for you.

Once you find something that works, slowly build upon it. And remember, this is a long-term effort. Don’t go down rabbit trails, stick with what works and cautiously experiment.

Tip of the Day: Experiment with different promotion tools and find what works for you.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. 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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

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.

 – – – – – – –

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 marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Renewal

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Renewal.

How have you been spending Stay-at-home?

Teresa and I have continued with her rehab, we have sought to maintain a sense of normalcy, and we have been engaged in renewal.

What Does That Mean?

As a writer I interpret Renewal to mean: An effort to review and improve on my writings. This can be as simple as writing a new book, or a more complicated review of both our writings and the marketing of our books.

Previously I have noted my return to local marketing. I believe in a balanced approach featuring local marketing and a national marketing. But the main emphasis is local. This is the place I can have the most impact.

Nationally I can purchase plans that will market our books for us, but locally I have a more hands-on approach. For example, getting our books into the local bookstore market. Instead of hoping someone will see one of our books and suddenly become a viral spokesperson, I think it makes more sense to personally and actively push our books. This means doing the hard work of finding bookstores, developing a business plan, and enacting a marketing plan.

To do this, I need to be working toward these things now (I am) so that when bookstores reopen, I’ll be ready. Our careers deserve our best efforts, our best writing, and our best marketing.

Tip of the Day : What are You Doing?

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: What is a USP?

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: What is a USP?

A USP is a Unique Selling Proposition.

Today we are taking a quick look at a USP. In a future blog we may revisit this and go deeper.

In some ways the USP resembles your Elevator Speech, but it is different. The Elevator Speech has its own criteria and is usually longer. But both share the following:

  • Memorable (something your prospect should remember)
  • Repeatable (something your prospect can repeat to others)

For example, when I am talking to anyone, prospect or not, I can insert the USP into the conversation. The idea is to give them a concept of my business that will stick with them, which is the memorable part. The repeatable aspect would be repeating back to me, telling someone else what I do, or telling someone why they are using our service.

The USP should be:

  • True representation of the business
  • Brief
  • Catchy
  • On point

True Representation

This is your reputation. Don’t promise what you won’t or can’t do. So make sure it is accurate.

Brief

The USP should be very brief. Why? Because you will want to include it on all your website pages, Business Cards, and other marketing material.

Catchy

It can be a jingle, but I’m not talking about that. By catchy I simply mean that it can be easily memorized and inserted into your everyday conversation.

On Point

This is related to true representation but relates to what you want your prospect to know. It must be true but it is very important that it conveys what you do. Perhaps it meets a need or provides something rare or embraces a ‘value’.

Below you see our USP which says, “we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”. This may change, but it imparts what we do and its benefit to you. It is also brief, easily memorized, and repeatable.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

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 (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), 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 Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Insights From World of Shem Part 3

In this issue I will speak about the Copyright Page and ISBN.

The consensus opinion is that you need to have your book copyrighted. Now the truth is that the moment you create the work it is considered copyrighted. This means that you can include a copyright designation in your book (example: copyright © 2017).

You can also file with the government to get the book copyrighted. While there may be additional protection (key word is may be) you are generally safe with the above example.

Along with the copyright you should include for legal protection a statement like the following:

“All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other – except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.”

If your book is being published by a publisher other than yourself they will automatically include such a statement. But if you are using Createspace or a similar service or you are publishing the book yourself then you will need to include the statement on your copyright page.

Your copyright page should also include who you used to print the book. For example, my World of Shem copyright page has the following: Printed by Create Space, a registered trademark of Amazon.com.

Also stated is: Published by T&R Independent Books, Port Charlotte, Florida.

Although I’ve been criticized for including the following statement it is necessary for legal protection:

“This is a work of fiction. Apart from obvious historical references to historical figures and events especially mentioned in the Bible, all characters and incidents in this novel are the products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to people living or dead are purely coincidental.”

In this sue crazy world we live in you need to protect yourself from being sued. You will notice I stated “apart from obvious historical references.” The book is a novel. Parts are facts but mostly it is fiction. To decipher which is which simply compare to the Bible.

If your book is not based on Bible characters or events you can remove the reference to the Bible. If you publish your book outside the United States there may be different requirements, but the above is recommended for books published in the United States.

Finally, you will want to show your ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 plus your company logo (if you self-publish).

Think of the ISBN as a library index card. It stands for International Standard Book Number and identifies the publisher. This worldwide number is required on all books seeking to be sold to bookstores, libraries, schools, and the like.

There are different resources available for getting an ISBN for your book. In fact you can buy a package of ISBNs. Of course they do come with a price tag. But I’m only going to deal with Create Space. Here is a brief description of ISBNs used with Create Space:

Create Space Assigned ISBN

Free; enables you to select Expanded Distribution for CS Direct, Bookstores, Online Retailers, Libraries and Academic Institutions (through Baker & Taylor). This also enables Standard Distribution which gets book into Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and the eStore.

Other Assigned ISBN

Same as above except for Libraries and Academic Institutions

There is more involvement than this, so be sure to independently investigate ISBNs on your own. Each author probably has a different marketing or distribution need, so you need to find out what is best for you.

You might be wondering what these Insight articles have to do with serving. I am running these blogs because part of serving is doing your very best. The idea is to share with you ideas and concepts that will enable you to do your best as an author, publisher, and marketer.

Hopefully this article has been helpful to you.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem, but Perished The World That Was (Book One), and World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two). 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 World of Shem. In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

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

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Why do the heathen rage?

“Why do the heathen rage…”

Psalm 2:1-5 shows the futility of man’s pride.

Men and women rise to power and all too often forget that it was God who enabled them to rise to their position. While the psalm is speaking of kings and rulers the truth is that all of us are subject to pride. And pride is the underlying force behind man’s rage against God. Yes, the love of money is the root of all evil, but pride is often the source of our rejection of God’s will for us.

We writers, yes Christian writers, have the same battles, the same temptation of pride. In fact, the more successful a person is the more vulnerable to the sin of pride. When we wrote that first book we were humble and thankful for whatever success it commanded. But as our careers ascend to greater heights it becomes so easy to forget.

But the truth is that success is not built upon sales. You can have tremendous sales and yet not be a success in God’s eyes. One reason that we are so vulnerable to pride is that our livelihood is firmly attached to sales. So we can’t ignore sales. And today writers have to do much of their own marketing. So again it is easy to start thinking “I did that.”

This is a sin that athletes are prone to fall into. They work and play hard, they develop their game, and put their best effort out there. And when success comes they say, “It wasn’t God that did this; I did it.” And when we hear of this we condemn their shortsightedness. But we do the same thing with our writing careers.

So how do we avoid the temptation of pride?

I don’t pretend to be a theologian. But I have been a Christian for awhile and a student of God’s Word. I have found that humility doesn’t just happen. If I want to be humble before my Lord, I have to realize that He is in charge. It is a daily challenge to submit to God and give Him all the glory.

It is easy to say, “I always do.” But that is often an expression of pride. No one is always humble. For that matter no one is always obedient. We have that pesky humanity that seeks to glorify itself. Thus we have to daily read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and apply it to our lives. And when I go to God in prayer I like to start out by acknowledging that He is Lord and I am a sinner saved by grace.

Someone once wrote that Christians should not identify themselves as sinners saved by grace. The idea being that we are saved, have a new heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit. While that is true, we still have our old nature which desires to rebel against God. And when we get careless or over-confident in our lives, we can be tripped up by our old nature and get proud.

So fellow Christian I encourage you to spend time with our Lord and in His Word. Facing a problem, take it to the Lord. Experiencing success, take it to the Lord. Needing advice about how to write, publish, or market your book, take it to the Lord. It sounds too easy, I know. But He is stronger, wiser, and more capable than any of us!

Speaking of marketing our books, I am finding inspiration in the Bible. You can’t do a google search and find any scripture speaking on how to market products, especially books. But there are a lot of scriptures that deal with the attitudes and principles that govern how we influence others and how we run our business.

 – – – – – – –

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. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Blessed is the man Part I

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

Psalm 1:1 has been read and memorized by countless Christians. It is a verse that gives us an outline, if you will, of the source for happiness. I have divided this verse into three parts and will comment on each part in separate blogs.

In this first part we are warned not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

Have you ever noticed the abundance of advice out in the world? The world is full of it for any topic you want to discuss. They have advice on how to work, how to live, how to make money, and how to market products.

This last, the marketing of products, really concerns those of us that are authors. As Christians who are also authors this is especially difficult. It’s not like there are a great number of teachers who announce they teach from a Christian perspective how to market books. Yes, there those who teach writing, but marketing is an altogether different animal. So if you actually find such a person that is a great help. But even then you need to be cautious.

So where does that leave Christian authors. Well, we still need information, so we need to find the best information we can. But, and this is important, we must run all this information through our Bible filter. In other words, does the advice violate scripture? Is the advice the type that you as a Christian follow in good conscience?

While an easy question to state it is not so easy to answer. The truth is that none of the advice comes with warning tags, such as “Not for Bible believers” or “Warning, this advice is bad for your Christian conscience.” So you have to be diligent. Read the advice, compare it to the scriptures and decide whether there is a conflict or not. And remember, other Christian authors may differ on what is right or wrong. Don’t worry about them. Be faithful to God and study His Word. Let Him guide your understanding of scripture and its application.

Admittedly this will not be easy, but it is necessary.
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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. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Responding to Major Roadblocks

Albert Einstein defined Insanity as: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Sometimes we writers get into a rut. Whether in writing or marketing we have discovered what we believe is the right way to go and we stick to it no matter what. Christian authors are just as guilty as any other writer of this unhealthy attitude.

After all we have prayed and sought God’s advice and implemented what appeared to be His answer. But there is the crux of our problem. Maybe it wasn’t God’s leading.

If that is where you are at then it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Take a step back and take a hard look at what is happening. Seek God’s leading and listen carefully!

If the problem is about your writing, revisit it and look for ways to improve. Ask yourself questions, especially as it concerns your cover, story line, and structure. Does the story move along at a good pace? Does it hold interest?

Don’t be afraid to change the story! Neither change just to change.

As for marketing you have a great many areas to look at. For example, do you frequently update your website or is it stale? Google and other search engines like fresh material and may downgrade your site if it is not updated.

Also take a look at your advertising. Especially paid advertising. You can waste a lot of money if you’re not careful. Frequently I take a look at where my money is going. And sometimes it means I shut something down and start something else. Recently I closed an email and domain account for three reasons: 1) there was a monthly cost, 2) the domain was not working like I wanted it to work, and 3) I could substitute a free email account for the paid account. The immediate result was a savings of money, but it also caused me to refocus on both the business and personal side of my writing career.

Did I just arbitrarily do that? No. I prayed to God for His leading. And it took weeks, perhaps months, before all of this was accomplished. It required me to look at everything and ask if I was just following popular opinion or was I doing things God’s way? It is not always an easy question to answer.

What is too easy is to follow the crowd. We are beset on every side by ideas and methods that are popular and successful. But worldly success doesn’t always translate to Christian success. God has a plan for us, and our goal must always be to conform to His will. It always requires us to spend time with Him and in His Word. It also requires us to compare the tactic or plan to God’s Word. Does the tactic or plan violate God’s Word?

In conclusion, we want to evaluate our work on a regular basis. Ask yourself the tough questions and early seek God’s leading. I believe that God has a plan for every Christian and He wants us to succeed within that plan. So the most important thing you can do is to trust Him and constantly seek His guidance.

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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. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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Are You A Real Author? Part III

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

DO YOU HAVE A TRIBE?

Another way of saying this is, Do you have fans? Or readers who love your books? Or an audience?

Every author wants (or should want) to have a tribe. And every time you sell your book that tribe grows. That tribe will include people you don’t know, but it will most likely also include people who you do know.

How?

By building your email list. This takes time, so be patient.

How do you build your email list? There are a multitude of ideas on this subject. Believe me, because I have check several out. Here is a partial list of building ideas:

  • Friends who like your book
  • Relatives who like your book
  • Blog followers
  • FaceBook followers
  • Twitter followers
  • LinkedIn followers

In other words, anyone who has given you their email address and likes your books!

So how do I use the email list?

First, you need a provider. There are quite a few out there. I am familiar with three: Vertical Response, MailChimp, and Benchmark. All three are good, although I am only now learning about Benchmark. So far I have been impressed and amazed with the tools they provide within their Free package.

Google email marketing providers to find a more complete listing. Check them out and decided for yourself which is best for you.

How big should my email list be?

That’s a good question. I recently read where one expert suggests 1,000. That is 1,000 people who really like your books – the true fans! So, practically speaking, you should have several times that many.

Secondly, you need to incorporate the email list into your marketing plan. Caution: you don’t want to saturate them with your ads, it will turn them off! Remembering this is separate from your Social Media Campaign (below) send out periodic emails announcing:

  • Upcoming books
  • New books
  • Specials
  • More

But don’t overdue it.

What about Social Media?

An effective Social Media Campaign requires the input of some money. Not necessarily a lot of money. So first determine what your budget allows. Next determine where you will focus your efforts. Some experts discount Twitter, but others are high on it. Your best course of action is to experiment and discover which two work best for you.

One last thought. You may not yet have 1,000 true fans. Use your email list to garner them.

 As always I am interested in your comments.

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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.