The Single Best Way to Sell Books (Or Lose a Sale)

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Bansky's "Peaceful hearts Doctor" courtesy of Eva Blue. Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Bansky’s “Peaceful hearts Doctor” courtesy of Eva Blue.

We can blog, tweet, promo, purchase ads and wave pom poms over our book and that is all lovely. Attention is grand. An on-line platform is essential. But, if none of these efforts translate into an actual sale? A lot of time and money wasted. What is the best way to sell books?

We’ll get there in a sec… *suspenseful music queues*

In my latest book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World I actually spend a lot of time explaining why advertising and marketing doesn’t sell books in the new paradigm (or any other, for that matter) and what changes to make for any advertising or marketing to be more effective. Yet, ads, banners, book trailers aside, people want to read a great book.

This means our best way of selling books…

View original post 1,131 more words

Living With Emotional Vampires

We all have them, those who surround us sucking the life right out of everything that brings us joy. Sometimes the intentions are good, nevertheless the end result is the same. We feel beaten up, chewed up and spat out. We take a deep sigh and then start anew.

As a writer, I face much the same as my fellow authors living with self-doubt about their work. OK, maybe King, Martin, Roth, and the rest aren’t the least bit shaken, but I think we all live with “Is it good enough?” at some moment in out lives. A writer perseveres and much like a dog, shake those fleas off their backs. What do you do when it seems impossible to keep the naysayers at bay, and keep putting one foot in front of the other? I find I say ‘Uh huh’ a lot. What happens when the significant other doesn’t get it, and complains about the hours you are putting into a useless effort? I hope you are lucky enough not to have one of those suck, suck, let me take your confidence away companions. If you do, how do you handle it? What about the mom who insists you can do better with your life, and that you are wasting your time?

The best friend oooh, now that can get tricky. You need to meet a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, and they are dangling the carrot with a come hither look. Can you actually do that with a carrot btw? Why is it when you write, that very few of the people who ‘love you best’ don’t get it? They should  be cheering you on, and slapping a high-five when the book is finally off to edits, and asking how they can help promote the precious thing that you brought to life. For those of you who have a 100% support group, kudos, however most of us go it alone. Writing is a lonely venture, we are in that canoe all by ourselves with one paddle surrounded by alligators. One slip and bam!

I have learned early on to listen for the a verbal hint of non support, the sigh and the shake of the head, and then I smile and say, “Hey I just finished another book.” Elvis has just left the room.

Indie Authors-Where We Stand Today

I give credit to Amanda Hocking for being the spark that ignited the indie movement. Some of you may disagree, which is fine. If anyone has read her blog you know her beginning was simply work, luck, some business smarts, and not afraid to take a risk. In a manner of speaking she opened the door for the rest of us, and we have followed.

Along the way many changes happened in traditional publishing and the indie movement. Some have been good, and some well… you know the answer to that one. Amazon is growing in leaps and bounds, spreading its fingers and dipping them into many pots. Indies and self-published authors have gained respect. However, the astigmatism that we aren’t equal to traditionally published authors still remains upfront and personal in the eyes of many. We have gained a foothold and it is up to the serious to continue to deliver their best works possible. No one is sure where it will all end. I, for one, will keep trying to gain the respect of my readers and entertaining the idea of success.

And just what is success? To some it is fame, the big bucks, and to others it is the recognition that they have arrived by means of publication in any format. I am saddened when I see so much time being wasted on the finger-pointing scale. In any business there is upheaval and at times a step back to see where one can make things better. Writing is no different. After all it is a business and the writer is the brand, the end product. 2014 is likely to bring about changes that no one saw coming, and we’ll roll with the punches(sorry for the cliché). It is time to just sit down and continue to write and not worry about free books, the $.99 deal, the giveaways and the gimmicks. Yes, we need marketing tools at our disposal, but it is time we came up with a plan that brings us to the next level.

Three years ago there were 4 million writers in the USA alone looking for a publishing deal. I’m sure that number has probably doubled by now. Don’t go looking for the next big thing, no one knows what it is anyway until it smacks you in the face. Think Harry Potter, and Twilight. There was absolute no way of predicting either of these success stories. Write what you love, love what you write and I really believe success will follow. My mother used to tell me,” You can do anything , or be anything in this world that you want, I just can’t tell you how long it will take.”


Men vs. Ladies: Perspective on Characters

As a writer reading is important to me for many reasons, the sheer enjoyment of it, research and education, and keeping up with the world. My pleasure reading encompasses both male and female authors, young and those who have been around the block a few times. I never read a genre that may influence whatever I’m working on at the moment. I write fantasy and won’t even crack a book in that genre. Afraid that I might be prone to subconsciously copying a fellow author, I wait until I am far removed from my work to dive in another author’s fantasy. I do write other genres and that rule would apply as well.

As of late I have noticed the distinct difference in character presentation by male and female writers. I like both, but I started to wonder if it colored my reading process in any particular way. Clive Cussler always gives great personality traits whereas I am left a little visually challenged. Don’t get me wrong, he does provide details, and he is on the money with women’s fashion. I still somehow never get a picture in my mind’s eye 100% of how his characters look. I Like Mr. Cussler’s writing very much, and I do have to force myself to close his book, or I will be up all night. I believe the physical presentation is a gender perspective.

I also read Nora Roberts a.k.a J.D. Robb. Her characters visually jump off the page for me. I can paint a detailed picture of the characters’ attributes. By no means am I trying to take anything from either of these authors, but I am interested in asking my fellow male writers if they feel visual display is a key factor in their stories. I should be so lucky to have the success of either of these authors.

I would love to hear any feedback from either side. Is this is my viewpoint alone, or is there a gender perspective difference?