Tag Archives: Market or Die

Writing is a Business. Get used to it.

I recently read on one of my favorite blogs, Writer’s Guide to E-publishing, about D.D. Scott’s production schedule. Production schedule? Was I supposed to devise some master schedule? Well, I kind of have a plan, but nothing as well plotted and organized as D.D.s. That woman is a writing machine. Go D.D.!

For me, this whole indie publishing journey has been a whirlwind of learning new tasks. From creating a social media platform to budgeting, finding a good editor, designing cover art–the lists go on and on. I thought I’d done plenty of research to get me going, but nothing has prepared me for how much there really is to do–besides writing great books—a challenging feat in and of itself.

From the time I decided to indie-publish in May, to my September 24th release date for Heaven is for Heroes (Yikes! That’s this Saturday already), I had almost five months to prepare. I knew I would need at least that much time to take care of all the details I had on my list—now known as my production schedule. I feel somewhat prepared and hopefully have learned plenty along the way that will make future endeavors easier, but what I’ve learned is that a production schedule goes beyond a daily page count if you want to be published, traditionally or otherwise.

There is a reason traditionally published books take 18 months to get out onto the shelves. I haven’t even discussed getting ARCs to reviewers and the marketing and promotion that is required way ahead of time to actually sell the book when it does come out. Reviewers require three to six months advanced copies. This is not going to happen in my current plan. Reviews from big name reviewers cost money and most won’t even consider reviewing Indi-pubbed books. I’ll keep searching out reviewers, but in the case of my current book, I’ve asked readers right under my bio on the last page, “If you enjoyed this book, please go to Amazon.com and give it a review.” If they hated it, hopefully they won’t bother:)

 Contrary to popular belief, self-publishing doesn’t mean slapping a book up onto Amazon and setting it free. Although I’m pretty sure that many writers do just that. There is a dredge of terrible e-books out there that should never see the light of day and are keeping the e-book industry on the “fringes of acceptable writing society.” I don’t want mine to be among them, so quality for me is first and foremost. At the same time, production and creating a back list of books is the quickest way to find e-publishing success. So once again, I’m trying to find balance. On my current plan, my cyber bookshelf will have two titles for 2011 and two, possibly three, for 2012. I have committed to releasing On Thin Ice in December and Savage Cinderella in the spring of 2012. These are two stories I already had written and felt were more or less ready to go.  I’m not so convinced after my experience with HIFH and all the work that went into creating the cover, the book trailer, revising, editing, revising, editing, revising…oh, did I say revising? I dare you to find the one typo that I missed on the two hundred copies I’ve already had printed! My current WIP, 21 Days should be out in June and the first book in a dystopian trilogy I’m planning for next winter should be ready by November.

 To meet those deadlines, I need to create a very specific production schedule, get organized, stay focused, and write my little fingers off. The plan is to have five or six titles in my backlist so that the long-tail sales start to gain momentum and I’ll start to see my profit margin grow in the next year. My STG for 2012 is to make back my investment and cover the cost of my conferences. LTG is to make enough profit to hire help, i.e.: a publicist and personal assistant to handle marketing and promotions. For more details on my marketing plan, stop on over to Market Or Die  (MOD) where I’m guest blogging for Jennifer Fusco  (I’ve always wanted to be in two places at once—thank you cyberspace).

I had the good fortune of hearing Kristan Higgins speak at the CT RWA meeting this month about the “countdown to launch” and all the necessary and suggested steps to take in the final three months before a book release. The list is a bit daunting, but even more so are the details involved in each task. You have to have your team in place and create a schedule that includes deadlines that you can adhere to. Cover art should be done at least three months before book release. A trailer, if you do one, should be done 2-3 months in advance, and you need to give editing a lot of time and consideration. Hire a professional and expect that there will be a lot of back and forth revisions. This takes time. I have three months to get ready for the release of On Thin Ice. I believe I’m a bit behind on my production schedule.  I’m not whining—at least I hope I’m not—but I don’t want to sugar coat the work involved in self-publishing, and the necessity of getting organized. I happen to work really well with deadlines, so I create them and work my butt off to meet them, but there is a huge learning curve, way too much for one person to do, and a huge investment in both time and up-front costs, so–

 Today’s Scribe Secret: No matter where you are in your writing career, create a production schedule, set goals (short and long term), and treat your writing like a business. If you are working toward publication, this is the job. Are you ready?

Anyone who comments on both the Scribes blog and MOD will be entered to win a free e-book copy of Heaven is for Heroes. Contest runs until midnight Thursday, September 22nd. The winner will be selected randomly and announced on both blogs next Tuesday, September 27th.

Available September 24th
Heaven Is For Heroes out September 24th

Win a FREE e-book copy!

Available this Saturday on my website www.pjsharon.com or wherever e-books are sold.

 

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Nook-ie Here! Have i(Pad) Kindled Your Interest?

Happy Thursday, all.  Suze here.

At the beginning of this year, I finally jumped on the e-reader bandwagon and bought a Barnes and Noble Nook.

Since I’m kinda cheap (yeah, yeah, I hear you snickering out there — okay, frugal) and not a person who needs the latest, most trendy models of anything, I purchased a refurbished wireless/3G version through Barnes and Noble’s eBay store for a bargain price (here’s a link if you’re interested.).  I didn’t buy the color version since I didn’t plan to read magazines or children’s books.  (The money I saved allowed me to buy a lot more e-books.)

While an e-reader will never completely replace physical books for me, I lurve, lurve, lurve my Nook!  It’s simple to use — just search for the book you want, press a couple of virtual buttons, and your next read is there momentarily — and it takes up almost no space.

Why did I choose the Nook over the Kindle? Easy.  I wanted to be able to use my public library’s downloadable books system, which does not support Amazon/Kindle’s proprietary format.

Are there disadvantages?  Sure.  The Amazon store is unavailable to me.  So, for example, I was unable to purchase a Nook version of brand and marketing maven Jennifer Fusco’s debut book, Market Or Die: Sensible Brand Building Advice for Writers, since that is only available through Amazon.  (Sneak preview: Jennifer will be guest blogging here at the Scribes on September 28!  The second volume of her Market Or Die series will be available on September 27.)  No worries though.  I got around this problem by downloading the Kindle for PC app, buying the e-book, and reading it on my computer.   I also could have read it on my Android phone.

Another disadvantage:  Who knows where Barnes and Noble will be as a company in a few years?  Look what’s happened to Borders — Gone, Baby, Gone!  Anybody who’s been inside a B&N lately can see that something’s afoot.  My local shop has a hugely reduced number of physical books on the shelves, and seems to have morphed into a toy store.   But I figure that since technological gadgets such as e-readers become obsolete so quickly, I’m just not going to worry about it.  Something new will come along to replace it, and somebody will figure out a way to make the books in my virtual library accessible to me.

Eventually, I’ll probably go to a tablet computer such as the iPad, which can serve as an e-reader but can also, with the addition of an adorable little wireless keyboard, take the place of a laptop.  For now, though, I’m happy.

What about you?  Do you have an e-reader?  What kind?  What percentage of your reading time is spent on physical books versus the e-reader?