Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/16/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART III

WHEN we publish our books we are wisely advised to promote them in every venue we can access—to even pre-promote to the Readers we know will be interested in our topic and/or genre. When Noah Webster was writing his book A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings on Moral, Historical, Political and Literary Subjects, he promoted it right into the office of President of the United States.

webster

  • First he talked to his friends and acquaintances about his soon-to-be-published book and enlisted them in “subscribing” to it. It is understood that many of these people financially supported (subscribed) the work.
  • Secondly, he published their names on the first several pages of the book—in alphabetical order. These scribers included: Vice President John Adams (indicating that he received two copies of the book), as well as many Senators, Representatives, Aldermen, Attorneys, Physicians, Merchants, Judges and ordinary folks from every location he’d visited.
  • Then, following the list of “subscribers,” Webster addressed this book as if he were writing a personal letter to: “The President, The Vice President, The Senators, and The Representatives of the United States of America, The following PUBLICATION, designed to Aid the Principles of the Revolution, to Suppress Political Discord and to Diffuse a Spirit of Enquiry, Favorable to Morals, to Science, and Truth, Is most humbly inscribed as a Tribute of Respect for their Characters, of Gratitude for their Public Services, and a Pledge of Attachment to the Present Constitution of the American Republic, by their most obedient and most humble servant, The Author.”

Now THAT is marketing—book promotion with flare! Certainly everyone was talking about this book and the boldness of the author. For Webster, the reality was that his often abrasive and know-it-all attitude kept him from being IN the “in-crowd.” However, it is widely accepted that Webster’s passionate nationalism was a major influence on the Founding Fathers. Reading his essays, newspaper articles, and dictionary word definitions gave them much food-for-thought in their daily lives and formation of our country.

So, where are you in pre-production planning for the book(s) you are writing? In today’s publishing world the group of supporters (subscribers) that Webster had would be called a Tribe. These are the folks who know you are writing—know a little about the story—and could be Tweeting about it or posting Facebook comments about how much they are anticipating the book’s arrival in their hands.

And, if you need financial support I know of several self-publishing presses who offer GIFT CARDS that family and friends can purchase to be applied to the publishing process and marketing of your book. The teams of marketing experts in these self-publishing houses can be a great help in connecting with Readers through the Internet and other media which takes the burden off your shoulders giving you the time to write your next book.

May the writing legacy left to us by authors such as Noah Webster give you encouragement and inspire you to accomplish great things with your writings. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/09/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART II

Noah Webster was (as the saying goes) a complicated man. After graduating from Yale with a B.A. degree in 1778 he couldn’t seem to hold a job. He was qualified to teach the basic liberal arts studies (back in a one-or-two-room school house) but wanted to study Law so he resigned. In order to go back to school—being instructed by Oliver Ellsworth (the future Supreme Court Chief Justice)—he needed financial income so again began teaching full-time. However, the load of teaching and law studies was too much to handle. History tells us that he fell into a depression when quitting both positions.

blue book speller

How many writers have experienced this emotional component of reaching for their dreams only to discover the heaviness of the challenge as they’ve balanced full-time jobs while developing their book or book series? This is rarely discussed, and yet Webster is an excellent example of fighting his way back—tapping into his educated, emotional and passionate self which he expressed in writing.

As the Revolutionary War continued, George Washington passed through the New Haven area and Webster (who played the flute) joined a group of supporters/students who serenaded Washington and his troops. Shortly thereafter, Webster, his brothers and father tried to join the Battle of Saratoga in New York but by the time they got there, the battle had been won by the American troops.

  • Thus it happened that Noah turned to writing as a way to channel his patriotic ambitions and he began writing a series of articles for a New England newspaper encouraging citizens and their American Revolution resolve.
  • Between 1783-1785 he also wrote his “Blue-Backed Speller” spending most of his time getting it published and announced. (It was later published in 1824 as “The Original Blue Back Speller: A Patriotic Textbook Series.”)
  • At the same time he was writing these books, Webster was also working on copyright legislation to protect the works of all writers.
  • His relentless book promotion pioneered now common techniques like the author tour, the fabricated blurb and the aggressive stoking of manufactured controversy,” says New York Times book reviewer Jesse Sheidlower, the editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary and the president-elect of the American Dialect Society.
  • Webster was known for writing constantly under various pseudonyms. Doing so he would often praise his own works and deconstruct the arguments of his critics. This is still being done today on the Internet under the label of “sock puppetry.”

So here is what I’ve learned from Noah Webster today: (1) write myself out of melancholy; (2) focus my writing efforts on subjects that tap into my passions, compassions, interests and ambitions; (3) don’t hesitate to self-publish; (4) use every avenue available to promote my books; and (5) if necessary, be willing to face critics with straightforward discussion.

Webster strongly promoted what he called American-English building an American linguistic style of spelling and pronunciation that lives and continues to grow to this very day. Without intentionally setting out to do so I believe he has given all writers permission to utilize our language in new ways; to create new words and combined words and related definitions; to write beyond our current skills, develop concepts for generations yet unborn, and publish in paper books, on the Internet and venues yet to be discovered. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Comparison of Outskirts Press and Trafford’s Self-publishing Packages

Deciding which self-publishing company to go with can be a real challenge. To assist you with this process, I’m writing a series of posts where I do the leg work for you! I’ll prepare a side-by-side comparison of two similar publishing packages from two self-publishing companies. I’ll strive to keep it as simple as possible to help cut through the vast amount of information out there by giving you an easy to read chart and a brief summary of my impressions on the comparison.

This installment of the series is a comparison of two of the most robust self-publishing packages available: The “One Click for Coaches & Speakers” from Outskirts Press (which you can enjoy even if you’re NOT a coach or speaker, by the way) and the “Scroll,” from Trafford. The information shared here is current as of the date I completed the comparison (19 December 2012) and is dependent on what I could located on the websites without contacting representatives.

Outskirts Press One-Click Publishing For Coaches & Speakers
$4,497
Trafford Publishing Scroll Publishing Package
$5,749
Production Options Paperback Format
Custom Cover
Professional Interior Formatting
Copyright registration
Library of Congress Control Number
Interior Elements Up to 20 images Up to 60 images
Copyediting Up to 75,000 Words Up to 250,000 Words
Author Copies (Paperback) 10 Copies 40 Copies
Expedited Service
Cover Scribing
Your ISBN/ Imprint or ours
Hardback Format
Author Copies (Hardback)
Indexing Up to 500 entries
Additional Formats Secure EBook Edition
Amazon Kindle Edition
Espresso Book Machine Edition
Marketing Services Book Video Trailer & Distribution
Custom Press Release
Author Webpage
Barnes & Noble See Inside
60 Second Book Video Trailer 1 of 3 choices
Social Media Marketing Setup PMA
Post-Publication Marketing Assistance Marketing COACH (2 years) Learning Center (1 year)
PR Publicist Campaign
Personal Marketing Assistant (PMA)
Submission to 10 Reviewers
Electronic Clipping Service
Publication Press Release
Streaming Audio
Amazon Cover Enhancement
Amazon See Inside the Book
Bookseller’s Return Program
Marketing Promotional Materials 100 pieces

With Outskirts Press, for $1,252 less you receive expedited service, a private label (optional), the Amazon Kindle edition of your book, the Espresso Book Machine edition, a PR campaign, 10 Book Reviews, a clipping service and 5 hours of personal marketing assistance with a professional book marketing expert, among other benefits.

There are a few options that come with Trafford’s Scroll package that are not included with the Outskirts Press package such as a hardback format and more author copies.  Although, you could order most if not all of those services a la carte with Outskirts Press and likely still come in at an overall lower cost.

My vote? Outskirts Press! See all the benefits and features of the One-Click Package for Speakers & Coaches by clicking here.

I’d love to know, which option would you choose and why?

Merry Christmas Self-Publishing Authors!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers! Unfortunately, there are many people who will not have the joyous holiday they imagined this year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Despite the tragedy they are recovering from, I hope they are able to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas: faith, love and family. For those of us who are blessed to be in the company of all of our loved ones, please keep those who need your support in  your thoughts and prayers.

Too often, Christmas is associated with expensive gifts and frivolous spending, but Christmas should really be about love and family. This year, I challenge you to take a few moments to appreciate your blessings and to help those who are less fortunate. One of the easiest ways to do this is by spending a few minutes writing this holiday. You could write a poem, a letter, a short story, or even begin a chapter of the novel you’ve been putting off. Write about Christmas or your family, or use writing as a way to cope with the heartbreak that is saddening our country. Whatever you write, let it come from your heart.

Merry Christmas.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order 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, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

 

Top 5 Tips for Blogging Success and Why Blogging and Self-Publishing Go Hand in Hand

Imagine being looked to as an expert in your field. Everyone will want a copy of your book when it’s published, right? If only it were that easy…well, now it can be! As a blogger, you can potentially gain an unbelievable online following of folks in your target market who will likely be interested in buying your book. Blogging is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing your self-published book. But way more than a handful of authors are missing the boat on this highly successful tactic.

Why? Many self-publishing authors are afraid of blogging. As a matter of fact, many don’t know what a blog is. However, if you intend to be successful at the whole “book publishing thing”, you have to learn this trick to gaining exposure — especially since blogging has been called “the most important thing an author should do to promote a book“.

Think of a blog as an online journal. In it, you can share your own thoughts while getting only as personal as you feel comfortable. As an author, though, you are able to write about topics related to your book. If you are a fiction author, a blog related to fiction books is a great idea. If you have written your own self-help book, share your expertise in mini-digests on your blog. Either way, be sure to post something interesting to get readers involved.

But, won’t I feel like I’m talking to myself? That is precisely how you will feel in the beginning. Many times it can takes months (or maybe even years) for your blog to be found and gain a steady readership. This won’t last forever. The best way to approach it is to think of when you’re planning on self-publishing a book. Are you 100% sure that people will read it? Of course not, but you keep writing because you have faith in your own success. Why should your blog be any different?

Wait a minute…so how do I even sign up for a blog? That’s a great question, and it’s one that someone else answers much more easily and efficiently than I do. So, here’s a video to help you learn more:

The above video walks you through the steps of signing up for a Blogger blog. There are several other platforms, but this is the least expensive and you can even completely personalize it by purchasing your own domain for it, which I highly recommend.

Once a self-publishing author gets started blogging, there are a few rules of thumb that must be following in order to be successful (skipping either of these is NOT recommended). I’ve listed the basics out for you below, but you may learn even more on a site like Blogging Tips:

  1. Define your niche early on and stick to it. The key here is to define yourself as an expert. That cannot be done if you’re talking about everything in your life all at once. Stay focused, and you will be surprised at the results.
  2. Come up with a posting schedule early on and stick to it. Post consistently, even if you’re only posting once per week. Try to schedule all of your posts around the same time.
  3. Use the “schedule post” feature that is available in your blogging software. You may not always be available at 8:15 am, but you want to remain consistent. So, instead of publishing your post right away, schedule it for sometime it for 8:15 am the next day so that you can be sure to have content up when your reader is looking for it.
  4. Purchase your own domain for the blog. This is SUPER important (I’m having a feeling of déjà vu here — didn’t I already say this?) You have to craft your own identity online if you want to be seen as an expert. The #1 ingredient for that identity is branding (aka – your own domain name).
  5. Participate in discussions on your blog. Make sure you post follow up comments to users who comment on your blog posts. This is crucial to networking and building strong relationships with your readers.

The above advice is just the tip of the iceberg. There is quite a bit to learn about successful blogging. However, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed because you can learn as you go. There are so many resources out there to help you, so get to blogging!

DISCUSSION: Are you an author with a blog? How has this help you build your brand and sell more books?

 

Self-publishing Guest Post: The Book Doctor Shares

Q: I like English, and it has always been my best subject. I’m trying to find which area of writing I am most talented in. I feel that I can write punchy, short prose well. Do you have any tips for how I can find the type of writing that suits me? Would I be better taking lots of short learning courses? Reading books? Any help you could give would be very helpful.

A: I don’t know your age, but if you’re still in school, I’ll assume you are under thirty, and with that thought in mind, I can tell you what I did with my life and see if it works for you. I loved writing from the time I was young, so I took every creative writing class I had the opportunity to take, in high school, college, from arts institutes, or at continuing learning centers. I majored in journalism in college, because it was the only writing path available to me back in the 1960s, but I didn’t think I would be a journalist. I thought I would be great at writing advertising copy, so I wrote some spec ads to create a portfolio and took them to several ad agencies. To my surprise I garnered some freelance work, which led to my being able to build a strong portfolio of published works. Ad copy was fun to write, but I wanted more, so I volunteered to write articles for the newsletters and magazines that nonprofit organizations produced, and when those articles were published, I added them to my portfolio and went out to find assignments from trade magazines as well as consumer magazines. You get my drift; I never settled into one area.

Eventually I had tried out—and usually enjoyed—just about every kind of writing a person can do to make a living, including ad copy, press releases, brochure copy, business reports, proposals, news articles, personality profiles, magazine articles, radio commercials, resumes, business profiles, white papers, books, memoirs, personal experience essays, and you name it. With a motto of “I’ll write anything for money,” I launched a career in writing and editing that has carried me for more than four decades, and I am doing what I love and making a good living at it.

If I were you, then, I would try everything, and you will find what best suits you. If you find you can do it all, then why specialize? Write! Enjoy! Count your blessings that you’re able to do what you love and make money doing it.

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Self-publishing Guest Post: The Book Doctor

The Book Doctor sets it straight on apostrophe usage for writing on the road to publishing…

Q: When it comes to plurals for last names, which is correct? Hueys or Huey’s or Hueys’? The Robersons or Roberson’s or Robersons’? Microsoft Word always flags these as misspelled. I can never tell the difference.

A: Microsoft Word probably flags them because the words themselves, Hueys and Robersons, are not in the dictionary, plus the computer program cannot decipher whether the name is plural or possessive.

If it is strictly plural, it takes no apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner with Joe Huey and the rest of the Hueys.
Mike Roberson said all the Robersons are visiting next week.

If it is plural possessive, it needs an apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner at the Hueys’ house.
The Robersons’ dog is visiting, too.

Note that if the name ends in an s, the plural possessive for book style is to add an apostrophe and an s. Examples:
The Jones’s house is painted white.
I agree with all of the Samuels’s suggestions.



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Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at http://www.zebraeditor.com