Tag Archives: selling your book

Book cover for Crimson Son by Russ Linton

5 Things I Learned Self-Publishing

By Russ Linton

Last June I published my first book, Crimson Son. I’ve been living the harrowing life of a self-published author ever since. After banging on the gates for a while, I decided to wander off into the woods and build my own house. During my time in the hinterlands, I’ve managed to learn a few things which I’d like to share. It might save you some trouble if you decide to go this route. Then again, it might all be bullshit. The publishing world is in a massive state of flux and what works now might not work in the morning.

Get Over Yourself

This is the first stumbling block for any self-published author. You can’t be the judge of your prose. You can’t pretend to be the enraptured audience to your subtle plotting or intricate characterizations. You absolutely, positively, need input from outside your own head. (This also excludes your immediate circle of family and friends.)Too many self-publishers skip this step. They’re convinced they’ve got an amazing story nobody has ever heard and that their every last word is manna from the heavens. They don’t need an editor. They don’t need an audience. Their story, their prose, will create its own audience.

Let me enlighten you:

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Navigating the Changing Book Industry — what writers should know to sell their book

woman-w-face-n-hands-1000Doris Booth, founder and agent with the Authorlink Literary Group and Authorlink.com, presented a workshop at the DFW Writers Conference, May 2, 2009 entitled:

Navigating the Changing Book Industry

— an insider’s view of what writers should know

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Notes from the DFW Writers Conference Agents' Panel, May 2009

On May 2, 2009, the DFW Writers Conference (sponsored by the DFW Writers’ Workshop) hosted a Question and Answer Session with a panel of literary agents. Agents  on the panel were Doris Booth, Sally Harding, Al Longden and Dr. Uwe Stender. The following are highlights from my notes during the session. It is by no means a complete transcription of the session but there were a number of interesting points brought up that indicated some of the focus of subsequent workshops. I’ve added a few of my own personal comments and observations.

Harding: YA (Young Adult) is over bought. She’s looking for classic epic fantasy with a fresh take for the U.S. and U.K. markets.

Stender: Selling non-fiction today requires “a big platform.” He went on to explain an author needs to be a celebrity, preferrably with his or her own show; a popular blogger; or have a degree from a major university to get his interest in a non-fiction manuscript.

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Marketing for Writers is really phishing for suckers

While I’ve learned to recognize the come-ons by snake oil sales people on the Internet, I sometimes give one a chance to prove me wrong. (I’m actually planning a post on how to recognize at a class an obvious bottom-feeder.) So far, none of them have.

A disappointment this morning was Marketing for Writers (marketingforwriters.com; and it’s not a link for a reason). They come up first in Google if you search on the term, however, don’t waste your time and certainly don’t waste your money there.

The URL takes you to a landing page optimized for Google with Yahoo text ads at the top, a bit of out-of-date copy on the absolute basics (and hardest way to promote your writing) and on the right side promotion for her own e-books and materials including a sign-up for a “Free E-course: How to Earn a 6 Figure Income from Your Writing”. So I signed up (Not with my real email address; this is what email forwarders are for and many blessings on my hosting service for allowing me unlimited forwarders. I make a custom forwarding address for almost everything I sign-up for that might sell my address).

I’m then taken to a funneling page that pitches an incredibly overpriced collection of “web marketing tools and tips” — which are actually free or another MLM/Affiliate scheme — that happens to be on sale right now for a limtied time only (and if you believe that one, I have some lovely beach-front property to sell you in Nebraska). But if you want your “free gifts” scroll to the bottom of the page.Yep, there’s a link for free stuff, but…

When you click on the link you are redirected to another pitch page for “Internet marketing for free” at another URL that informs all of the free gifts have been consolidated on this one page (obviously a more recent WordPress based page), so just scroll down and click below. I had a couple of more minutes before the library opened, so I scrolled down to find the link “marketing for writers” and clicked…

And found myself back at the original pitch page with the same article, the same Yahoo ads, the same product pitch and sign-up box. I had come full-circle.

I can assure you that the primary way this person is earning a six-figure income from writing is getting suckers to pay big money for, at best, a repackaged collection of old, freely-available-online-or-at-your-local-library tips, affiliate sales, ad sales and reselling your email address (among other things there’s absolutely no privacy policy or terms and conditions statement for any of the sign-up forms). She’s not interested in selling your book; she’s interested in selling her “books” to you!

So don’t waste your time or risk your email box.

I hope to have up very soon (finally, getting through my classes and consulting gigs) a resource page of legitimate and recommended guides to marketing for writers. In the meantime, read Ariel Gore’s How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lightsand Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networkingfor starters (and yes, they’re an Amazon Affiliate Link, but to titles I highly recommend and a lot cheaper than a scammer’s self-pubbed drivel).