It seems our business has been targeted by a person named KRISTA PATTERSON—if this is their real name. They are shown to live in the USA.
This person is using our email address to sign us up for a lot of websites which are genuine. We then, of course, we get them emailing us. We have unsubscribed from over 64 sites so far, however; Records of all the emails have been kept in case we can do something about this TROLL. We have also notified some websites that our address has been used fraudulently.
The reason for this post is just in case anyone else has been targeted.
We have no idea who this person is, and why they are doing this. It’s weird!
Who likes Nike, Adidas? Who’s your favourite Movie Star, Poet, Author? The first two are BRANDS which people love. The Second are people who can be turned into BRANDS and generally are. So, how do they do this? What does it mean to have a BRAND?
If you get a big enough BRAND you can sponsor others, the same way Nike and Adidas do. They are MARKETING MACHINES, but how did they do it? How did they get so big and noticeable? It’s a bit of give and take. The big businesses sponsor the big names in sports and movies. If a movie star loves the shoes, clothes, drink…whatever the business sell, then the public will buy and support the person being sponsored which in itself supports the MARKETING MACHINE. It continually circles around, making money.
As authors and publishers we need to do something similar. The trouble is getting your foot in the door. How is this achieved. Well it’s time to ask some of the Independent Authors who’ve made a success of their books. There is one lady I know you’d all love to chat with. Sadly she is busy heading for a deadline right now though Jami Albright has given me permission to share how she went about her first book launch, which also shows how she used her BRAND to her advantage.
Find Jami’s Podcast HERE. Other details are below. This Podcast is mainly about a Book Launch, though it shows the process she went through to get SALES and REVIEWS, both an important part of how we use our AUTHOR BRAND.
This article was written by Jami Albright in 2017. Jami has since released another three books in her series.
The minute you decide to sell your book it stops being your baby and becomes a product. A product that needs to be launched into the world. Which, frankly, is a dubious task when you consider that there are millions of books on Amazon alone, not to mention the other platforms such as, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Did you hear me, people? Millions!
So how do you launch your book so it will sell, but also stay sticky in the Amazon rankings and therefore, continue to sell? We have to have a plan. A launch plan.
On April 11, 2017, I released the first book in my Brides on the Run series into the top 3000 in the Amazon paid store and had 50 reviews within the first three days. Eleven weeks later (as of this writing) my book is still ranked in the top 5000 and has over 200 reviews. It’s sold 1100 copies, and has 700K pages read in Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited.
My little book has made over $5000, y’all! (I’m a Texan. We’re excitable.)
When I was asked to write this article about my book launch, my first thought was, Surely, there’s someone more qualified than me to talk about this subject? Because, while I’ve done well, other indie authors are knocking it out of the park with their numbers. But like most of you, I’m a part-time writer with family responsibilities, and a day job, who’s doing everything I can to figure out this indie publishing thing. What I’m trying to say: If I can do it, you can do it.
My launch plan began months before I put my book on Amazon. I started by understanding my genre and making sure my book met the expectations and conventions of that category. How did I do that? I read books like the ones I wanted to write. I familiarized myself with the tried and true tropes that readers want, and then worked very hard to make sure I delivered on those expectations. You can choose to write outside of the parameters of a genre, but know that you are going out on a limb to do it. And you might find yourself alone on that limb with your determination to be unique and no audience. Readers come to a genre knowing what they want. If you disappoint them because you decide to break convention, they will not be happy. They’ll then share their displeasure by leaving a nasty review.
The same is true of covers. When choosing a cover for your book, check out the top one-hundred best sellers in your genre. Are there themes, colors, and fonts that are used to signal that the book is a YA fantasy or a cozy mystery? I’m not telling you to copy those covers, but you should use them as guidelines for your own design.
I write romantic comedy. In the rom-com sub-genre there are three camps as far as covers go. One camp is full of sexy, shirtless guys. The second is illustrated covers with quirky characters, and third features women in flirty skirts, that only show their legs. My book didn’t fall neatly into any of those styles. It’s kind of a combination of all of them. It took several iterations, but I came up with a compromise that I think works. It’s flirty, quirky and sexy, just like my book.
A reader should be able to look at your cover and tell immediately what kind of book it is. If your cover and your content don’t match, then you’ve confused the reader. And a confused reader is one that moves on to the next book by another author.
In addition to a great cover, you also want a blurb or book description that hooks the reader. If you don’t know how to write good copy, learn, or pay someone to do that task for you. Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis is an excellent resource on the subject. If done well your cover and blurb can sell your book for you.
Before we move on, one more quick word about covers. Put down the mouse and step away from Photoshop. Now! You should not be making your own covers unless you have an extensive background in graphic design.There, I said it. Someone had to.
Hire a professional cover artist. A good cover can cost as little as $25 for a pre-made all the way up to $3000 for an artist commissioned cover. Mine cost me $200, it would’ve been less, but much to my designer’s annoyance, I kept changing my mind. The two most important things you will spend money on are the cover and editing. You should have someone other than your mother or your high school English teacher edit your books. You need a professional editor. Period.
I know these things cost a lot of money, and if you’re like me, that money isn’t in your budget. But it’s important, so important that I worked odd jobs to make extra cash and, ultimately, sold plasma to pay for it all. Was it hard to travel thirty minutes to an unfamiliar part of town, sit for hours in a small room filled with people I didn’t know, and get stuck with a needle twice a week? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I have a book I’m proud of. A book that looks professional on the inside and out. A book I paid for with actual blood, sweat, and tears. Damn right, I’d do it again.
Now that I’m off my do whatever you have to do soapbox, I should say that you can sometimes barter with an editor to get the services you need. Or find a graphic design student that has experience and wants to build their portfolio.Or just wait and save up until you have the money.
I know you want your book out yesterday, but we’re playing the long game. Smart, professional authors don’t rush something to market that isn’t ready because it will hurt them in the long run.
To re-cap, we need to know our genre expectations, have a fantastic cover that we don’t make ourselves, a well-written blurb that hooks readers, and professional editing and formatting.
Finally, I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with the indie community. Once I realized that indie publishing was the route I wanted to take, I immersed myself in learning everything I could about the business of self-publishing. I listened to podcasts, I got involved with Facebook groups geared toward publishing and marketing, I went to the Smarter Artists Summit, and I tried my best to be a good community member and make meaningful connections with other indie authors. Little did I know how those connections would be a driving forces behind my successful launch.
In the beginning, I had very little to offer other writers other than encouragement. I could share posts, give moral support and be a friend. So can you. It requires a little effort, imagination, and courage, all things you have because you’re a writer.
How do you feel? Do you think you’re ready to release your baby… um… product into the world?
Please continue to read our blogs for the processes about Author Brand and Book Launches, and please remember the first step to building your book is RESEARCH
Our next article will cover Social Media and Website Building. What to expect, what you need to do and learn. Much of this also depends on your budget. Can you afford it or are you willing to LEARN what’s needed to get your BRAND working for YOU.
There are lots of new writers out there each and every day. There is also a heck of a lot of confusion in writing groups. The same questions get asked constantly, people give inaccurate information to each other, few do their own research to find the information they need to publish a book. The main issue is paying for publishing.
Paying for Publishing – Confusion
What is the new writer really asking? What should your reply be if you’re trying to help them. We really need to look deeper than saying things like ‘don’t pay for publishing it’s Vanity Publishing and Publishing is FREE’ If you say publishing is FREE then you obviously don’t value the time it took you to write, to learn the processes of how to publish. Not everyone is good with computers, websites, marketing, graphic design, etc. And these aren’t even the start to building your Author Brand
There are steps to publishing a book and getting it accepted by a distribution website, the same as there is a process if you wish to try traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you will PAY for various things along the way. Now you want to know HOW or WHY, or WHAT THE HELL…
With Traditional Publishing you will pay for the work they do via royalty share for the life of the book. This is how they make their profit. If they don’t see a profit in your book, you won’t get a contract. Of course prior to that is the time it takes to find an Agent, write proposals, etc. It is all time consuming and your time shouldn’t be FREE.
With Independent Publishing you will pay one off FEES for various areas you don’t have the skill set to do yourself. If you are willing to lean, it makes it cheaper, though please remember your TIME is not FREE. Everyone should have an Editor even if it is your job in life. We all miss things in our manuscripts. The best part of Independent Publishing is you get to keep all your royalties and copyright. If you’re good at Marketing, you may earn a decent income.
AUTHOR BRAND – AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Step One: Writing a first draft of your manuscript. WRONG. The first thing you need to do if you wish to earn a decent income as a writer is research your Author Brand. What is this? you ask. Well it’s developing you and showing everyone who you are and what you can do. A bit like a Resume. Once you’ve listed what you know about yourself you can REASERCH what you need to do to get there. What do you need to learn? What way do you wish to publish? How does Publishing work. Do you want to try Independent Publishing or Traditional Publishing. Both have different processes you will need to learn.
At this stage I’m looking into Independent Publishing. You’ll need to research the genre you write. Who’s in the top 100 on Amazon? What are their book covers like? Why are they a best seller? What is their book blurb like? How many novels have they written. How did they find their fans? What are their websites and social media sites like?
There’s so much to research before you even start to write and though you can learn from other writers and authors, you will find some things don’t work for you or are incorrect. RESEARCH is still the key to develop your Author Brand and any learning curve processes you will need.
Step Two: Social media and websites. To build your fan base you need to start chatting, sharing teasers, photos, information about you, your stories. It depends on which social media sites you use. This is where your learning curve begins. Guess what you need to do…Yep RESEARCH… This time you need to learn how to build a website and how to use social media to your advantage and which ones are best for you! How to make a newsletter and get readers to sign up. Once you decide what you need to learn and how to use them, the real work begins. For many, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when social media keeps updating their technology, causing frustration due to having to learn something new…AGAIN.
Also remember you’re supporting yourself at this time. (unless you have another job). Think about how much you’d expect to earn each hour you research, each time you do something to move forward. How much an hour are you worth? This is the FREE part of publishing, though only if you consider your time is worthless
Once again, I have seen New Authors get caught up in messes with supposed Editors from FIVERR. I know there are many good ones out there, like with anything else, it’s a matter of finding them. RESEARCH every part of building your book. This is why our MOTTO is ‘Building Books One Step at a Time’ we will look for the best fit for you, your manuscript, and genre. Even Editors prefer to work with a genre they enjoy reading. It also means they have experience with word usage in your manuscript and can assist YOU to build a better book.
Get the wrong Editor and disaster can strike. I know from experience how bad it can be along with helping others when it comes to the crunch. I’m not an EDITOR. I can CRITIQUE and PROOFREAD. The flow of your story is important. At this point, I’d also like to say I’m not a Planner or Plotter. I FLOW WRITE, I let my muse tell their stories. It’s not until I go back over the manuscript that errors are picked up and more information is added. This is something I do several times prior to beta or proofreaders.
My first Editor was also an Agent. I know for a fact they’d worked with other authors as one later became a friend, and they’d had a horrifying story of a supposed Trad Publisher they were guided to via this agent. This isn’t anything to do with Fiverr, which just goes to show you need to go deeper with your research than I did originally all those years ago.
This Editor & Agent worked on part of the first chapter of my first ever story, one I still haven’t published. Yes, it was a mess and a new author learning the ropes of how English had changed since I’d been at school. What this Editor did was laughable, it was obvious to anyone they didn’t know anything about English History, especially during late Regency times. The Editor didn’t understand Regency language usage. Now I’m a history researcher and I always enjoyed reading Regency books, though I thought many were too long-winded. My novel will never be a true Regency book in any shape or form. It may end up in the future with a Regency theme, who knows.
This is why I say you all need to find an Editor in the genre you write. Make sure they know the genre, ask for references, and sample edit. This is what I do for my clients. I usually ask around five Editors for Samples and send them on to a client to read through and see which makes the most sense to them as the author. So far this has worked well. It also gives me a list of Editing Contractors I can trust and contract out to again when the need arises.
The latest manuscript I’ve been asked to help with was Edited by a Fiverr Editor. Putting it mildly it was horrible. The editing that is. I’m enjoying the story. Generally, I use GRAMMARLY – though not the best, it helps as long as you have a good grasp of English. I used American English Grammar and it came back with over 2500 errors. HOLY… The manuscript didn’t flow well, it was worse than the original. I was asked to Proofread and Critique this work and though not an overly long story it has taken a while to do. I’m on the last few chapters.
Questions to Ask
1. Do you do Sample Edits? 2. Do you have references? 3. What genres do you edit in? 4. Do you have links to your work? 5. What English do you edit in? UK, USA, Canadian, Australian, etc. 6. Do you do Line Editing? 7. Do you do Proofreading? 8. What type of editing do you offer? 9. What are your charges? 10. Do you have a website? 11. Do you use a contract?
If there is a contract involved. It should be easy to read and understand. It shouldn’t be over 4-5 pages. If there is something you don’t understand, ask! Ask other authors or in Author Groups. Make sure you know what you are signing up for. Also, remember you can look at books on Amazon ‘LOOK INSIDE’ to see how a book is Edited. It can be quite an eye-opener.
As many of you know I was in England for 18 months. You may also know it was not a nice time except in small amounts. I struggled a lot, my mental health hit rock bottom several times and it wasn’t nice. One day I will write the story of my time in England.
One of the things I missed the most during my unwanted downtime, was posting blogs for my business, chatting to my clients and friends and sharing all your posts…especially those I thought would be interesting to others.
I finally came back to New Zealand and it has taken me a month to sort myself out – my mental health – and start anew with sharing posts. I must admit I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if it was with WordPress or if individual websites unfollowed my site. The reason I know is that I found myself re-following many sites I was still getting emails from. This caused issues with reblogging various posts, meaning it tool longer.
Ok, I do understand in some ways why my website was unfollowed…lack of content and new blogs, lack of shares. However, I don’t recall anyone trying to find out what happened to me or my website. Perhaps I am overreacting…I blame my mental health issues.
Please note though. I will always follow you, even if you’re quiet. In fact, I way well send you a message to find out how you are and if you’re ok. You are all important to me and my company. Without you…I can’t move forward. I can’t promote and I can’t share.
Please think before you unfollow someone. You could save a life.