Fiction, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Writing

The agony and ecstasy of self-publishing a book!

Let’s discuss the ecstasy first. You publish a book. Yay! Family and friends read it right away. Then a few acquaintances read it. Finally, a few friends of friends or acquaintances of acquaintances discover it. You receive glowing reviews. People tell you they love the book. Your writing is a success!

Thank God for those early readers, but family, friends, and acquaintances are a limited number. For many of us, that’s a very small number. Naturally, we want more readers. And more. And more. Think potato chips … or Junior Mints.

I confess my impatience. I want everyone to read The Brevity of Roses now … today … right this minute! Of course, that’s not going to happen. I don’t remember any of the self-publishing advice naming Patience as a required virtue. If it was mentioned, I must have glossed over it in my … um … impatience.

Now, we’ve reached the agony. You have a book you love and want to share, but have to wait for readers to find it. In my ignorance, I imagined that word of mouth would spark a firestorm of readers burning through the pages—and I imagined that chain-reaction would start immediately. Didn’t happen that way. Still, there’s hope because I know that people intend to read it. How do I know this?

A few people have directly told me they intend to read my book. I believe they will. Last month I gave away a copy of Brevity on Goodreads. Hundreds of people entered the giveaway, but I would be naïve to think all those people actually intended to read the novel. However, over eighty of those people also added Brevity to their To-Read lists on Goodreads. Will they all read it? I doubt it, though a percentage of them probably will.

Then I got a boost from Women on the Verge. Each month they select members’ books to highlight on their front page, and currently The Brevity of Roses is one of those. Every day since WOTV highlighted it, more Goodreads members have added it to their lists. Some of them will surely read it.

There’s no way to know how many people might have added my novel to their “want lists” at Amazon or any other online bookstore,  or even jotted it down on a to-read list at home, but I’m sure some have. On a good day, I imagine hundreds have done so … and untold thousands may do so from future promotional efforts.

These people are my eventual readers. These people keep my hopes up. These people—potential bearers of ecstasy—make the agony of having a published book easier to bear.

Patience.

Craft, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Do you write like a tortoise or a hare?

May was a stressful month for me. The fun and excitement of self-publishing my first novel the month before had worn off, and I was hard at work. I spent the month working daily to promote my book in various ways, which is a requirement for all authors, no matter how their books were published.

All that time, I kept reading how important it is to get my next book ready for publication. The gurus say that the secret to great sales for indie authors is to fill a “shelf” with your books. The more books you have to offer, the more your fans will buy.

In traditional publishing, it usually takes at least a year and a half from the time an editor buys your book to the day it hits the bookstore shelves. That means you have a good amount of time to write and polish your next book. Traditional publishing suits a tortoise writer.

I think self-publishing works best for hares. If true, this is bad news for me. I’m a tortoise. I’m writing again. I’m working on the next book. But it will be awhile before it’s ready to publish. I don’t write fast or I should say, I don’t write well fast.

That frustrated me. In fact, I was so stressed, I couldn’t write at all. I thought the problem stemmed from what I was writing, so I switched to something else—something I thought I could write faster. That only made matters worse. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to write that. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to think about publication for a while.

Now, I’m writing what I want to. This new novel will take a while to be publish-ready. Not as long as The Brevity of Roses did, but it will take several months, at least. This time, the hare will win the race. I’m all right with that. I’ll cross the finish line eventually.

Which kind of writer are you … tortoise or hare?

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Advice, Block, Craft, Doubt, Fiction, Publish, Short story, Writing

A story! A story? A tale of fear!

All my sources tell me that, as a new indie author, I need to publish more work soon. Writing a novel is not quick work for me. I have a story that might run novella length—might. I haven’t written it yet, of course. Another option is a short story collection.

Until the last couple of years, I’ve never been a big short story reader. I’ve written some, but they were for my own eyes. But, in the last year, I’ve greatly increased the number of short stories I read. I also read articles on how to write short fiction. I’m still not sure I get it.

I’m also not sure why I don’t get it. It’s almost as though I have a mental block. I think I write a beginning, middle, and end, but it doesn’t seem like a story to me. Is it a vignette? Is that a story?

Does a story require a moral? A lesson? A reason to exist? Am I over-thinking this? Probably. I fear I can’t write short stories. Then again, I fear I can’t write anything. FEAR.

I’d like to say I bravely take up my pen keyboard and wield it like a sword, but that would be a lie. The truth is I sit here quivering. I sit here wishing, hoping, praying that the words I’m typing make sense … have a purpose … tell a story.

That’s what I’m busy with nowadays. And I thank Christ Craig for her recent post reminding me that I have to face that fear or I’ll never know if I’ve written a story at all.

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Books, Feedback, Marketing, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Tips, Writing

Tag, you’re it … at Amazon!

Consider today’s post a public service announcement. At least, it concerns something I didn’t know, so I’ll assume one or two of you don’t. (Please, someone say you didn’t know.)

Because too much sensory input overwhelms me, when I go to a website with fifty things going on at once, I tend to focus on the main thing and tune out the rest. So, until my novel appeared on Amazon, I ignored the sting of words below the reviews on each book’s page.

The label above this section is: Tags Customers Associate with This Product. These words should be key words descriptive of a book’s genre and subject matter. Amazon uses them as search terms. Were you aware that one of your search choices is: Products Tagged With? I wasn’t. But why does that matter?

For many (most?) of us who write books, we’re responsible for promoting them. We do that, of course, because we want people to read our books. It’s no fun writing books no one reads. So making readers aware that our book is out there is serious business.

On Amazon, the more clicks a book’s tag receives, the higher the book will rank in results when a customer search uses that tag. Obviously, books by famous, top-selling authors won’t go undiscovered if no one tags their books. But high tag counts can definitely help a debut author’s book get noticed.

From now on, especially when you buy a debut, or indie, author’s book at Amazon, remember to click their book’s tags. (And don’t forget to click to see ALL tags.) In fact, you can do that even if you read it as a library book or bought it somewhere else. Consider this a chance to create good Karma. What goes around …

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Book Reviews, Contest, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Social Media, Writing

Shameless? Shameful? Whatever, I’m doing it!

Yes, I’m promoting The Brevity of Roses again. I’m going to ask you to help me out and it won’t cost you a penny! That’s right, we’re talking FREE.

If you’ve read the book, please rate or review it any bookish place you frequent online … particularly Amazon, and while you’re there, please scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with This Product section and click the appropriate tags to help Brevity rise higher in the search results.

I’d also like to invite you to follow me on Twitter,  and like my Facebook page, and be my fan on Goodreads … because you can never have enough of the real Linda. Cowbell, maybe … Linda, never.

If  you’re really dedicated, you could also sign up for my Brevity Insider Newsletter, which you’ll receive sporadically. And if you’ve already done all these things, my goodness, don’t you have a life??? Seriously, thank you for your support.

Now, today’s big news! This new giveaway begins today and ends May 19th. Click below to find out more and enter to win.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis

The Brevity of Roses

by Linda Cassidy Lewis

Giveaway ends May 19, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

You say you couldn’t care less about me and my book? Well, that’s just rude. 🙂 Seriously, even if you don’t, or can’t do, anything more to help me promote my book, come back Saturday to see the gift I have to give to you.

Until then, do you think we could use more cowbell around here???

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