Insights From World of Shem Part 3

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 Apart from obvious historical references to historical figures and events especially mentioned in the Bible, all characters and incidents in this novel are the products of the author’s imagination.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 You will notice I stated “apart from obvious historical references.”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).

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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.

Why do the heathen rage?

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.

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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.

Blessed is the man Part I

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.

Responding to Major Roadblocks

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.

Are You A Real Author? Part III

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.

Book Marketing: Blogging

Obviously I believe in blogging. But how about blogging as a marketing tool?

There are several reasons for blogging:

  1. For the fun of it.
  2. To be helpful to others.
  3. To market a product or service.
  4. To promote an event.

While I do enjoy blogging I am not in it for the fun of it. However, I do want to be helpful, I do want to market myself, and sometimes I do want to promote an event.

All of these are legitimate reasons for blogging. When I first started blogging the primary reason was to market myself, but that is no longer the case.

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about writing, publishing, and marketing. I have not only learned, but I have formed strong opinions. And I want to help other writers learn the same skills I learned without the same hard work.

Blogging enables me to communicate truths, techniques, and ideas to you for your benefit. This information is free to you because I believe it is necessary for every writer to know.

As for marketing, yes blogging is still a valid marketing tool. Through blogging I make people aware of the Authors Academy where they can study at a low cost (currently at a reduced price of a one-time fee of $7.00).

I can also blog about my books. I genuinely believe that my novels bring historical characters, especially Biblical characters, alive and perhaps give the reader insights they may not have known.

Do you blog? If so, what is your purpose?

Mine, of course, is writing, publishing, and marketing. Although I may at times stray from that theme, it dominates the blog. When I first knew I wanted to write I sought instruction. But it was not widely available. I did find one source that was helpful, but it wasn’t free. It was a low cost monthy subscription.

But when hard financial times struck I could no longer afford the monthly cost and had to drop out. This meant that it took me a lot longer to learn my craft. It was for that reason that Authors Academy eventually was started: to provide a good solid foundation for anyone desiring to write a book.

I recommend you blog. Find a subject that you know and focus on it. Get a blog host (I use Word Press). Then start blogging!

It will take a while to build a following, but it is worth it. But try to establish a pattern. The more often you blog and the more you blog each week will eventually draw followers.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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.

Book Marketing: Facebook

Using Social Media as a marketing tool is a multifaceted subject. But we will only be looking at a few uses.

What is Facebook?

According to Wikipedia: Facebook is a for-profit corporation and online social networking service. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 it is located in Menlo Park, California.

Primarily it is a very popular social networking site where users can easily interact with one another. Facebook has grown tremendously and is now not only for personal communications but has a strong business flair as well.

Facebook ads give advertisers an alternative to Adwords. For authors it might just be the preferred format for advertising.

I can only speak for myself but I have been very disappointed with Adwords whereas Facebook ads have done better for me. At the very least Facebook offers a credible competitor.

One of the factors that I like is that Facebook has a large database that can be defined narrowly. While Adwords has similar capabilities Facebook offers, in my opinion, a stronger defining tool that allows me to determine or customize my audience by geography, age, gender, interests, and more.

It is also tied to my Business Page which is a plus.

Do you have a Facebook business page?

Whether you use Facebook Ads or not having a business page gets you name recognition. And it can serve as a landing page. In my case I have designed other Landing Pages, but I do use my Facebook Business Page as a Landing Page in some ads.

You can also use your Facebook business page not only to inform existing and potential customers, but to act as a conduit. For example, at the bottom of this blog article you will see a statement that reads, “Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.” This allow you to comment on my blog, plus while on the page you can “Like” my page and “Signup” for Authors Academy.

I have barely touched on what you can do with Facebook, but I think you get the point: Facebook deserves to be an integral part of your marketing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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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.

Book Marketing: Your Website

Book Marketing: Your Website

Your website should be an integral part of your book marketing efforts. Today I will discuss some of the basics of website development.

 First of all, you need a website. I use Godaddy, but there are plenty of potential hosts out there. Today’s blog is not about the various hosts although I may blog on that in the future. Rather, today I am going to assume you have purchased a domain.

 Why?

 Because when you own your domain, you have more control of the site and the content. For example, if you decided at some point that you are unhappy with your website host, you can move to another host.

 Another reason for owning your own domain is that you can have a domain that is keyed to your name. When I first started out I bought rfrederickriddle.com as my domain. As you can see it was keyed to my author’s name. Recently we (T&R Independent Books) bought the domain tr-indbkstore.com, which again reflects our company name.

 As the owner of rfrederickriddle.com I was able to cancel the content on the site and redirect it to the T&R site. So I retained my professional name brand and people searching for me are redirected to my home page on T&R’s site. That is only one positive of domain ownership.

 This blog is not big enough to go in to great detail on web development, but there are a few points that need to be made.

  1. White background is often better that dark. (Don’t believe me, visit a site having a dark background and quite often it is hard to read the content.)

  2. Put eye-catching content above the fold (making the content the first thing visitors see).

  3. Highlight your book(s)

  4. Link to your blog, newsletter, and social sites.

 There is much more. But the above are generally agreed to be important.

 The title of this blog is marketing your website. So let’s discuss promoting the website itself. There are ways available to you to promote your site, such as:

  1. Facebook page

  2. Facebook ads

  3. Twitter page

  4. Twitter ads

  5. Your email signature

  6. Your blog

  7. Your newsletter

  8. SEO

  9. Word of Mouth

 These are just a few methods available. Each could be discussed in a separate blog.

The key here is that you put some effort in letting word get out about your website. It won’t be overnight. Be prepared for a long term effort. Your website’s visibility will grow.

 

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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.

Book Marketing SEO and Links

Book Marketing SEO and Links

A strange title isn’t it?

 Basically what I am talking about is using links to build your SEO.

SEO is that dreaded word that we all agree we need, but don’t always know how to go about it. We will be looking in the next few weeks at different SEO techniques. I am starting with Links because I believe it is a very important action and it is an action you can easily perform.

 I am assuming that you have a website, either managed by you or someone you have hired. If not, I will be discussing that at a later time.

 Here’s a principle you should adopt: Never pay for links!

 There are those of you out there that may take issue with that, which is fine. But if you are going to do it, I recommend CAUTION. Some providers use shady techniques and still others are outright scams.

 A simple way is to establish links between your assets. For example, I have a blog (you’re reading it), a newsletter, and company website. All of these are capable of doing two way linkage. I also have my author domain which links to the company website and I can link to my products on Amazon. And of course there is Facebook and Twitter.

 For instance, to two-way link my blog with my website I simply went to my website and created under Services the word Blog and a brief description. I highlighted Blog and linked it to the url for the blog. With that I immediately created a link to this blog. On this side I simply put T&R Independent Books in my boiler plate (see below) and linked it to the website url.

 You can also place links from your website (say a product page) to a particular Amazon page. I have linked this blog to Amazon’s authors page where the user can view all my books.

 It is not only easy to do, it is valuable. I am not an expert on SEO or on Google, but it is my understanding that Google includes links, especially backlinks, in their search formula, which affects your search results. Our website has backlinks with Goodreads, PRLOG (Press Release service), and Facebook. So our website has both links and backlinks which has long range positive prospects for the site.

 Does your website have links/backlinks with your Facebook business page, your Twitter account, your Amazon authors page, or your blog? In the future we will discuss each of these services that you should have. But if you have them make sure you have them linked!

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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.