Self-Publishing News: 8.13.2018 – The Interviews!

august month

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically interviews with or articles written by self-publishing authors and experts!

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Why pair these two together? Once in a great while, the letters to the editor can be just as interesting if not more interesting as the article which inspired them, and that is certainly true here. Which isn’t to say the original article, written by Atlantic contributor Alana Semuels, is somehow not good or not interesting itself; the article tracks book sales on Amazon and delves into the oft-fraught history of the relationship between Amazon and books, and between Amazon and self-publishing. Semuels writes about Mike Omer, an author whose books have sold more than 10,000 copies and been rented 10,000 times through Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Omer’s own thoughts serve as a tether, or an anchor, for this article, and as a reminder that all of these discussions are moot if they’re not rooted in the experiences of those who are most affected: the authors themselves. Semuels is interested in how Kindle Unlimited does and does not support authors, self-published and traditionally published. Interestingly–for Semuels, if not the authors themselves–Semuels dedicates the vast majority of her article to the ways in which Amazon, now a self-publishing giant, has undercut traditional publishing and the ways in which it exploits its authors. As Semuels puts it:

Omer’s experience has been like a dream, he told me. But for people in the publishing industry, it may seem more like a nightmare. He sidestepped the traditional gatekeepers to publish his books online on Amazon, gaining thousands of readers. He ignored big publishing houses in favor of an imprint run by Amazon, attracting thousands more. He has little interest in the traditional publishing industry at all, in fact. He’s a successful author, and his whole world is Amazon.

Authors had their own thoughts, though, and they made them known to the Atlantic, and the Atlantic decided to collect together these letters and release them on their own, from those which are mostly interested in amplifying the negative aspects of Semuels’ story, including one by Douglas Preston, to those who have found a home in self-publishing when traditional publishing failed them, such as Wanda Fries. As Semuels points out in an afterward to the letters, the problem isn’t that self-publishing is a success, but rather that traditional publishing has missed an opportunity and alienated a generation of writers instead. “Rather than just rejecting many of the works that come in,” she writes, “traditional publishing houses could have launched their own self-publishing platform, which would have allowed them to keep an eye on promising authors as Amazon now does.” There’s an opportunity in there, and we hope traditional publishing recognizes it.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: Growing Your Market With Elbow Grease

Over the last several weeks of this summer, I’ve written about the difficulties of both making a fresh start when getting started and having to re-start your marketing plan when something goes south. Both of those involve a lot of work, it’s true, but this week it’s worth reminding everyone (including myself) that the work is worth it.

I wrote recently about my gardens being stripped accidentally. Well, after having a mini-meltdown and lapsing into total self-loathing and disappointment for a few days, I decided to take a couple of baby steps. I did a soil pH test one day, laid down some fresh soil the next. Ordered a couple of packets of wildflowers and bush beans the day after that. Took handfuls and spread them out the following weekend.

Now, things are starting to come up. It may not be the garden I first envisioned, and it may never again look like the original, but it’s still something. And it still makes me happy. It brings me joy.

Just like writing, and marketing, when I see the first signs of success.

gardening

The elbow grease needs to be there. It’s never going to be the easiest thing, marketing. But it also doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you do each day. Line it up after your fifteen minutes of foreign language learning each day (Duolingo is brilliant, isn’t it?), your half-hour walk, and your afternoon smoothie. Making marketing just another part of your routine, something that has a little bit of structure but not so much it interferes with the rest of your day, is critical to it remaining a long-term part of your life.

I should know. I’ve been to the marketing (and the gardening!) doldrums this summer with you. I know what it looks like. And I’m here to remind you: it’s not the end. It’s never the end. It’s just another part of your life, and you get to make it fit with the rest of who you are and what you do. And in the end, you’re going to sell some books simply because you were willing to show up for a few minutes each day and remind the world that you have a brilliant new book out there in the world, and it’s ready to be read.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

 

Tuesday Book Review: “Man At The Cross Road”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

man at the cross road jeanne blanchet

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silver-awardIBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Historical Fiction

Man At The Cross Road

by Jeanne Blanchet, Ph.D.

ISBN: 9781478778547

Synopsis*:

Man at the Cross Road is the gripping story of Marcus Casca, the exactor mortis who headed the death squad that crucified Jesus. After serving his army stint, the tough, desensitized legionary returns to Rome, where, unable to readjust to civilian life, he embarks on a twenty-year spree of debauchery and violent crime. His life is altered when, having fainted on the street from a fever, he is rescued by a Christian Jewish couple. Through them, he meets Church fathers Peter and Paul, Aquila and Priscilla, and other prominent figures in the early “Way” movement. Witnessing the Lord’s Supper, however, he suspects they are cannibals. Additionally convinced they practice sorcery and constitute a potential threat to Roman security, he becomes a government informer, infiltrating their ranks with the intent of gleaning enough evidence to have them arrested, tried, and executed. Little by little, however, the believers’ message of love and salvation works a change in the dissolute thug’s heart. But can he commit? Can he truly believe that Christ died for a despicable sinner like himself? And if so, can he ever dare disclose to his new brethren that it was he who crucified their Jesus? For years he wrestles with these questions. At the novel’s climax, he is offered the money he desperately needs to treat the life-threatening disease he has contracted if he reveals the group’s new secret meeting place, in the process condemning the only friends he has ever known to certain death. Marcus is at a cross roads and must decide once and for all whether he believes. One choice saves his life, the other, his immortal soul.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Author Jeanne Blanchet has done an amazing job in “Man at the Cross Road,” her story of the man who crucified Jesus. This is a book written in modern terminology, but instills facts that document this event. The author has done extensive research in trying to present the information on a subject that is highly sensitive and controversial. She provides excellent information on the differences in worship services, the Holy Eucharist, and beliefs.

The story begins in Rome 30 CE where readers meet the family of Sextus Cascas, who are awaiting the return of their son Marcus after serving in the Roman Army. Each family member reflects on their memories of Marcus and the feelings/fears they have about his return.

The mother, Gnaea sees only the good in her prodigal son but at the same time remembers his defiant ways as a child. The father, Sextus, tried to be the best father he could, exposing Marcus to learning the family trade, providing trips to the theater and “guy” events. Sister Livia remembers the abusive bully who only cared about getting what he wanted, when he wanted it.

Marcus returns with what we call today PTSD – he is non-communicative, hostile, and violent. His time in the Roman Army has only increased his belief that he is better than anyone else is and all others are stupid and incompetent. After advancing in the ranks of the army, he was chosen for the “death squadron.” The squadron’s goal was to crucify anyone who went against Roman law and security, and those deemed unworthy. Crucifying an individual included being stripped of all clothing, flogged, and then nailed to a cross in a public arena.

The turning event for Marcus was the flogging and crucifixion of the so-called “King of Jews.” Never had any crucifixion impacted him like this one. Not only did this Jew not call out or beg for mercy, he appeared calm and spoke to the crowd and the convicts hanging next to him. Marcus couldn’t get the eyes of Jesus out of his mind and that image followed him for years. It was due to this image and memory that Marcus lost touch with reality and was sent home.

Once returning home, Marcus leads a life of stealing, lying, and taking advantage of any woman he wanted. One such woman was Hadassah who was not killed but sent home. He later encounters her and her family after being found in a ditch due to illness.

The topic of Jesus’ crucifixion is addressed and why it happened or was thought to happen. This was delivered very well with historical facts. The author left it up to the readers to decide if they could forgive a man who did this.

Blanchet provides definitions of terminology, footnotes, maps, and further information on historical facts in the back of the book. One point made was that “No one knows for sure the hour Jesus died,” due to differences in how time was calculated within different groups. She relates that most authorities believe Jesus hung on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until his death at 3:00 p.m.

“Man at the Cross Road” by Jeanne Blanchet is an excellent read that will certainly challenge readers on their beliefs of what really happened.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Dr. Jeanne Blanchet has written a gripping novel about one man’s journey through crucifixion, debauchery and finally, salvation. In the character of Marcus Casea, the chief executioner of Jesus, we find so much about our own struggles with life, faith and the grace so freely offered by Jesus. This book will help believers and non-believers alike — there is so much shared humanity in the book that it cannot help to both captivate and inspire readers to examine their own lives and their relationship with God. A must read!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

Dr J. Blanchet, an accomplished author, spent years of research before writing this intense yet believable story. She cleverly weaves into the story all the teachings of Jesus the Christ in an attempt to influence the dangerous life of the Centurion who crucified Jesus. We highly recommend this book even for those who do not know the Biblical story!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 8.6.2018 – The Company Files!

august month

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

This month has been a quiet one on the self-publishing front, at least in terms of news from the top. (Next week we’ll be giving over more page space to the many fantastic authors who, as always, inspire and encourage us.) But here comes an interesting article by Shana Lebowitz of Business Insider on eleven CEOs and business founders who somehow managed to save their companies from complete failure; true to form, one of these CEOs has a self-publishing connection. Twitter founder Evan Williams was also the founder of Blogger, now a subsidiary of Google. But early on, Blogger ran into trouble–enough trouble that Williams was forced to lay off all of his employees. How did Williams–and Blogger–pull through? A whole lot of elbow grease, as it turns out: Williams worked on his start-up alone for three years before Google started paying attention … and making noise about buying the start-up.  The other founders in this list have fascinating stories, too, but it’s refreshing to know that at least at Business Insider, self-publishing platforms are one of many platforms giving voice to the average person that is getting serious treatment.

The short answer is … yes. Yes, the hashtag #Bookstagram, most popularly used on Instagram and Facebook (which owns Instagram), is indeed changing the way that we read. According to this article by Veronica Walsingham for Inverse, over two million posts have been tagged with this hashtag, which for many Instagram users is as much about aesthetic as it is about the books themselves. But make no mistake–it’s also definitely about the books! For those who haven’t used hashtags before, the humble pound sign (#) has become an engine of discovery on social media platforms as diverse as Twitter and Tumblr and YouTube and Instagram. It serves as a collector, a kind of vehicle for ideas, in that anyone who tags their post with that hashtag will be gathered together into a separate feed when users click on it. Walsingham’s article is interesting, of course, not just for its exploration of the kinds of content which makes it into the #Bookstagram hashtag, but for its identification of who, exactly is using it. And guess what? Self-publishing authors and the companies which get them onto the shelf are among the many! Read the full article for more.


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Using Book Videos to Market Your Books

youtube video illustration

Everyone knows Google is the #1 search engine. Any guesses for #2?

YouTube.  

Video is quickly become the de facto way in which people interact with the Internet, which means you are missing out on a world of opportunity if you don’t have at least one book video (and preferably more). The good news is that it is easier than ever to make videos.  In fact, you probably have everything you need in your pocket right now.

Every major social media site (SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook included) is jumping on the video bandwagon and most of them are following in the shadow of the one that popularized it all: YouTube.

Youtube is for authors, too.

The YouTube app makes it easy to record videos on your mobile phone and then upload them to a channel that you can create exclusively for your book. If you write multiple books, you may be better off creating a channel about you as the author and then include videos about all your books in one place, rather than uploading them across multiple channels, since managing multiple YouTube channels is more trouble than it’s worth.  And besides, you’ll already be busy uploading the same videos to Instagram and Facebook and other video sites, like Vimeo.

You can easily download the YouTube app from the iTunes App Store, but if you prefer not to use the YouTube App, it’s still easy to record videos on your phone and then upload them directly. Another alternative is a webcam. Nearly all laptops and tablets come with video cameras nowadays.  Just aim and shoot and upload. Of course, you can always go “higher-end” with a GoPro camera or something even higher-definition, although the price and the complexity makes it less worthwhile. Start small, start cheap, and as your experience with shooting videos grows, so too can your budget and quality.

The technical aspect is actually the easy part.  More difficult is deciding WHAT your video is going to accomplish, or what it is going to say.  While it is certainly simple to record yourself reading passages from your book, that may not make for the most exciting video to watch.  

Entertaining and/or educational videos are the way to go.

How-to videos, for instance, are very popular. This means authors of non-fiction how-to books have a large pool of content from which to draw.  Every chapter could be its own video; heck, perhaps even every page if you wish to make a series of shorter videos (which are more popular than longer ones, and drive more subscriptions to your channel to boot).  

Children are almost as popular as cats in videos, so children’s book authors … rejoice!  Let the little ones be your stars and reap the rewards for their cuteness. If you’ve written a cookbook, you’re golden. Film yourself cooking some of your recipes.  The point is, no matter what kind of book you have written, you can create a book video to market it. If all else fails, use stock photography sites to pull some still images down and edit them in with memes or quote cards and tell the story of your book or summarize its plot or message.  With the right selection of music, even these can be effective. Slide.ly and Animoto are two third-party video sites that make this process relatively simple and relatively inexpensive.

Once you make one video and upload it, make another one, and make it unique. Then, track the views and comments to see which type of videos are most popular with your audience.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Tuesday Book Review: “Five O’Clock”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

five o'clock Joe Montaño III

writer's digest 25th annual self published book awards

Honorable Mention: Poetry Category

Five O’Clock

by Joe Montaño III

ISBN: 9781478771753

Synopsis*:

“singer, fruit picker, behind his
father, walking music thru desert sunrise.”

Conjured in crude images of thenatural world, the poetry of Joe Montaño III connects the reader to the great music,art, film & literature created before us and to his own cultural past. Hiswords strive to illuminate the breadth of human fallacy, compelling compassionatesouls to speak with punk rock conviction through the filter of profoundabstraction.

From Picasso to Buster Keaton tothe New York Dolls, a source exists within the greatest and most flawed of ourinspirations. From here, and from the many places of travel and childhood home,Joe Montaño pieces together his own culture, while finding a place within hisown elusive Hispanic heritage. Ever the expositor, he persists in his searchfor connection, as well as a place to push off of.

“There oughta-be-a
burn down the town anthem stuttered
by the tongues of youth, those failures
waiting for sunrise so to daydream.”

The poet seeks to create Universalwork that not only endures, but moves and travels with the reader. JoeMontaño’s words reflect a personal & disquieting truth of humanity insurrealistic detail. To identify with these poems is to walk a brambled path -conceding ego, confessing fault – and also made curiously pleased by thethought of our own inherent golden core.

“The sun has called him a murderer, and
punishes his skin and eyes…taking his god away
while shading the poet, the dandy rebel, and
the lovers like naked gypsies
bathing in the light.”

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

If there is any type of poetry I admire the most it would be the abstract and surreal type of poetry.
Likewise Joe Moantano’s first book is packed from cover to cover with both of those, plus poems of humor, stories of his culture and tradition, plus some of his outlooks on life and attitude. It is difficult to pick out a favorite poem out of this book, so instead I’ll just say that “blue#1&2” really stood out. Overall it’s a good book to read over time and thought, and re-read after that. As a person I think of Joe as one of those kinds of enigmatic types who is full of generosity and a passion for poetry. (Although the latter of which may be misunderstood by some folks)

– reviewed on Amazon by Gene Miller

Another Review

Joe Montano III is a thinking man’s poet. No slam poet pop culture fluff here. Read his poetry aloud to appreciate its rhythm and meaning. Hearing Joe’s poetry always inspires me to want to write more myself.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

 

Author Website

http://artofjoemontanoiii.yolasite.com/

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 7.30.2018 – April Round-Up

July

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, wrapping up what’s new for you and yours in April 2018.

Every now and again, we need a success story to remind us of why we do what we do, and this one from Publisher’s Weekly contributor Matia Burnett is a gem; Burnett interviewed author Susan Wittig Albert, who has published more than 100 books, on how she could possibly both publish books and also make time for “raising cattle, sheep, geese, ducks, dogs, cats, and chickens (not to mention gardening and fiber crafting) on her 31-acre farm in the Texas Hill Country.” The short answer? Susan Wittig Albert has a work ethic which puts many of us to shame, but the long answer? She makes time. Her experience has run the full gamut from indie to traditional to entrepreneur and back and forth again, and she has much wisdom to share on all of these varied and rich experiences. Well worth a read!

Adam Rowe of Forbes is fast becoming a name to watch when it comes to the latest and greatest hits on self-publishing and the digital sphere; in this week’s online issue, he tackles one of the greatest thorns in the industry’s side: fraud. But before he gets there, he tackles the history, unfolding piece by piece how both the problems and advantages of self-publishing have evolved alongside the technology itself. He talks about those so-called “agent reading fees” (scam!), so-called “referral scams” (definitely scam!), and fake or misleading awards (also definitely a scam!). Right now, in 2018, Rowe recommends steering clear of anything that doesn’t hold up under due diligence research, including: “A fast fast-growing cabal of predatory self-publishing or marketing companies operating from the Philippines.” A good self-publishing company will be up-front about its fees, and will be more than happy to answer questions when contacted.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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