Category Archives: ePublishing

A Review by Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

A new review of In the Fool’s Footsteps is in, this one by book blogger Emily Lewis, aka Mrs. Mommy Booknerd (love the name!). She also did an interview with me as part of her Author Profiles. Some of the questions were quite challenging…

Read the review here.

emilys_review winter

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Filed under ePublishing, In The Fool's Footsteps, Reviews, Self-publishing

Lessons Learned (so far)

Sometime around the beginning of 2012, I decided to release my first book. A friend urged me to self-publish, so I did some research and decided to go for it. Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two that would have been good to know going in. I’ve had a triumph or two, I’ve fallen on my face once or twice, but I’ve never looked back. I’m proud of my book and what I’ve accomplished to date.

  1. If you’re a Canadian author and you’ve decided to publish with an American outlet such as CreateSpace or Kindle, start the process of getting your U.S. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) early. You need that number to apply for tax-exemption. Canada and the U.S. have a treaty whereas Canadians do not have to pay tax on money earned in the States because we pay income tax to Revenue Canada. And let me tell you, the IRS is every bit as fun to deal with as RevCan. There is a phone number you can call listed on their website, but it’s always busy. I’ve never once heard it ring at the other end. If you don’t complete this process, Amazon will whithold a whopping 30% of your share of the royalties.
  2. Another note to Canadian indie authors: be aware that Chapters will not carry your book unless you publish with them. This was a tough one for me to swallow since their packages cost $2-3K and Amazon is, well, free. However, you should also be aware that Amazon will not place your book on Amazon.ca, so Canadian readers are forced to pay high shipping charges. Feels like a catch-22 and is supremely frustrating. (If anyone has more information about this, please comment below.)
  3. Start soliciting reviews well before your launch date. Go to Google to get a list of book blogs. Read their submission guidelines carefully. Many of them will not review self-published books. Don’t get upset – just move on. You’re too busy to waste time ranting. Make sure that your book falls within the genres that they are accepting. Write a short, yet professional email that outlines your book and clearly states its category. If you don’t receive an answer, leave it and move on. If you do receive an answer, do not visit the reviewer’s blog every day looking for your book review. They will contact you when it’s up.
  4. Join Goodreads and participate in discussions. Once your book is published, set up an author page. Please don’t spam by mentioning your book in every note you post. There are some great forums for self-published authors where you can solicit reviews.
  5. Social networking has been a slippery slope for me, I will admit. I’m not shy about tooting my own horn, but I do have a problem with bombarding friends and family with my sales pitch. I set up a separate Facebook page for my book. As for Twitter, I’m slowly but surely building a network and I am not shy to say that I quickly unfollow those authors who fill my feed with ‘buy my book’ tweets. If I’m interested in your book, I will find the link on your profile. Be entertaining and informative, not annoying. I don’t know if I’ve made any sales through Twitter, but I have bought a handful of books from authors I enjoy following. Honestly, Twitter may very well be a huge time-waster for me, but I’ve also learned a lot by following links to blogs about self-publishing.

It’s been an exhiliarating several months, and all in all, not a bad way to spend the spring and summer. The biggest challenge for me has been finding the time to work on my next book when I’m so busy marketing and promoting (and smacking my head from time to time – damn that learning curve!). At the end of the day, the first one is out and I’m really proud of it. When the next one is ready, I can use what I’ve learned to start the process sooner and build more hype before I launch. My new mantra is ‘Keep moving forward’ and so far, it seems to be working.

Happy writing!

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Book Signing at Pandemonium Books & Discs

Just a quick note to let you know about my upcoming reading and book signing. The event is being held at my local used bookstore on September 8. So excited and looking forward to seeing some familiar faces!

 

I’m pleased with the poster, which I D-I-mYself. I just recently discovered Paint.net, downloaded it for free and used it to create this poster from my book cover. The internet simply rocks. Not sure what I would do without it – hmm…probably get a lot more writing done, actually.

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Filed under Author appearance, ePublishing, In The Fool's Footsteps

I read somewhere…

Over the weekend, I read a book I downloaded for free from Kindle. So far, I have not had much luck with the free books – mostly abysmally bad, to be honest. Not to mention the typos and formatting errors, but what do you expect for free, right?

Write Good or Die is not one of those. Written by a collection of successful professional writers (Scott Nicholson, Gayle Lynds, Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, Douglas Clegg, Alexandra Sokoloff, J.A. Konrath, Harley Jane Kozak, and Jonathan Maberry), it should be a bible for anyone considering becoming an author, let alone a self-published one. It’s incredibly informative and, at times, laugh out loud funny.

I wish I had read it 6 months ago.

This collection of articles covers all aspects of writing and publishing, whether indie or traditional, including honing your craft. (How refreshing for someone like me who agonizes over every comma and every nuance in my creative work.) Personal stories of the climb to the top provide inspiration, and practical hints around marketing and promotion filter through all the information on the internet.

About halfway through the first article, I set it down and went to retrieve my notebook and pen. I finished it in one sitting and filled five notebook pages with new marketing ideas and notes for my current works in progress. And my handwriting is tiny.

If it’s so good, why is it free? you may be thinking.

Remember, these are successful professional writers. They’ve won awards and sold millions of copies. Some of them are going to sell even more because I was so impressed, I’m going to buy their work. That’s it.

I’ve also been perusing another book, recommended to me by a friend, called The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks. The ‘Abraham’ in the title is a spirit from another dimension who has spoken to the husband and wife team about the Law of Atrraction – in a nutshell, the power of positive thinking.

Okaaaaay.

Did I mention this is not to be found in the Fiction section?

So, Ouija boards, chanellers and awkward prose aside, the book has a great message: focus on what you want instead of what you don’t. Because whatever you think about the most will manifest in your life. For me, practising this philosophy has helped me to stop the damaging spiral of negative thoughts and frustration that lead to poor productivity. If I’m feeling positive, I’m damn sure going to get a lot more done. (And, by extension, reap the rewards. I’ll let you know how that goes.)

And who am I to scoff at the spirituality of the writers? The characters in my book are all based on tarot cards.

(Well, loosely based. And it can be found in the Fiction section. I just liked the archetypal imagery. Okay, nevermind.)

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Filed under ePublishing, In The Fool's Footsteps, Marketing, Reviews, Self-publishing

Ta-weet to-who

Hey there. I’ve been meaning to make a small change to the author bio at the end of my book. In it, I refer to myself as an ‘avid blogger’ which I was at the time of writing. However, I’ve also become a busy writer with a freelance contract and a new novel underway with more work on the horizon. (There’s also the whole being a mom thing, too.) So, I think I may have to change it to ‘sporadic blogger’. What do you think?

I’ve also been trying to figure out how to market my book in the twitterspere and, quite honestly, it’s frustrating at best. I’ve picked up a few followers and I’ve followed other authors, book types and publishers. The result? No new sales and a newsfeed filled with ‘buy my book’ and ‘read my blog’ tweets. It’s nothing but advertising and it’s so annoying that I won’t click on the links out of principle.

I realize that sounds pretty sour. I promise you it’s not meant to be.

Just to give you an idea, I currently follow 75 writers, publishers and bibliophiles. In the 15 minutes it has taken me to write this post, 89 new messages have appeared in my feed and they are ALL book ads.

So my new focus  is to locate readers instead of pushing my book on other writers. How do I do that? Well, a good start is to think about which writers I follow on my personal twitter account and why I follow them:

  1. They’re funny and interesting.
  2. They know that I know how to search for their books on Amazon. Comfortable in the intelligence of their readers, they do not constantly send out the link to their book.
  3. They let readers post favourite quotes from the book instead of bombarding their followers with stuff they’ve already written.
  4. They tweet about ideas, events and silliness that touch them personally.
  5. They don’t reek of desperation. Period.

Granted, these are established writers that I’m talking about, but even as an emerging writer I see no benefit in annoying those who follow me. (I’m assuming, of course, that everyone gets as annoyed as I do with constant advertising. I could be wrong, but I’m not.)

So, from now on, my @foolsfootsteps tweets will come from my own observations  and funny bone. My blog posts will also appear, but they’re sporadic (remember?), so shouldn’t be annoying. 🙂

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How Did the E-Author Sign Her E-Books?

When I first announced my intentions to self-publish, a common question was whether or not hard copies would be available (yes) because people want a signed copy, and how on earth would I be able to sign an ebook? I pondered it and initially came up with nothing.

There are clever digital signature programs out there but I hesitate to rely on technology on the spot while people wait in line. Then I ventured into the scary and intimidating world of Twitter. There I saw something wonderful – a lightbulb moment, if you will. One of my favourite authors, Christopher Moore (@theauthorguy) was touring with his latest novel, Sacre Bleu, and a fan brought a handmade book jacket for an ereader that she asked Mr. Moore to sign. He took a picture and tweeted it.

I don’t know who the fan was, so I can’t give her credit, but I did steal her idea. Here is the result…

This is the template I used. I created a table in Word, sized the cells to the proper dimensions and inserted the picture.

The finished product after cutting, folding and gluing.

I think this lends a lovely tactility to an otherwise virtual experience. It’s a nod to the phenomenology of traditional books.

Have you bought a copy of the ebook that you would like signed? Email me at simplicty[dot]kh[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Filed under ePublishing, In The Fool's Footsteps

“I’ll send an SOS to the world…”

As I walk farther along the self-publishing path, deeper into the promotional woods, I can’t help but feel a little lost and alone from time to time. The internet is full of advice, some of it useful, a lot of it, not so much.

Bloggers insist that I should be updating my blog daily, following every other blog I can find about indie authors and commenting prolifically. My Twitter feed is full of other self-published authors promoting their books, indie publishers advising and admonishing, and even some authors boasting about their huge sales. (That’s more than a little depressing to me, especially after purchasing one of said books to find out that it’s terrible.)  I’m on Wattpad and Goodreads. I’m still learning the pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon (like that you need to purchase expanded distribution to make your book available on Amazon.ca even if you’re a Canadian author).

And I’ve barely written a word for my latest project because my precious writing time is spent keeping up with social media.

Since the early days of this process, I have stubbornly insisted on not blogging unless I actually had something to say and was happy with what I wrote. And there’s the uneasy feeling that spending too much time on marketing and promotions was not only going to have a negative impact on my creative life, but also be a complete and utter waste of what little time I have to dedicate to writing.

Social media and the internet in general is amazingly powerful, but tweeting and blogging is also a little like sending a message in a bottle out into the wide, wide ocean. Or hundreds of bottles, if that’s your strategy. At best, it will work. At worst, you will annoy someone who may otherwise have been inclined to read your stuff. Most likely is that it will go completely unnoticed.

Then, I came across this blog post by Michael J. Sullivan and I feel much better. In a nutshell, Michael reminds us that we have to build our fanbase one reader at a time. It sounds daunting, but for me, it’s a reason to hope that it will happen.

So, for now, I’m sticking to my guns and ignoring the blog and Twitter hype around self-publishing (especially the 50 Shades of Nonsense), and choosing to concentrate instead on arranging readings, reviews and interviews. Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t think anything is more effective than person-to-person interaction. Maybe it’s slow, but just a few months ago, my book was still hidden in a drawer.

Besides, I have another trick up my sleeve…

If you are interested in writing a review of In the Fool’s Footsteps, email me at simplicity[dot]kh[at]gmail[dot]com.

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July 23, 2012 · 8:32 pm