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How to Publish Your Own Fantasy Novel

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Allison
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« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 10:58:10 pm »

13. Free Range Cage-Free Fantasy

Grow your world and its many details organically. Meaning, describe it when you need it. The test is easy: can the audience continue without this information? If the answer is no, describe as simply and clearly as you can manage. If the answer is yes, the move on to the stuff we care about.
14. Reality Versus Authenticity

Fantasy would seem the opposite of reality as in, “My reality does not feature merfolk flea markets or werewolves having sex-wars with vampires, and this book has those things aplenty.” And yet, each tale of fantasy must have its own reality and the way you accomplish this is by embracing authenticity. Authenticity makes everything feel real, even when it most certainly is not. Authenticity comes from consistency and confidence in your writing. (Logic and common sense don’t hurt, either.) Authenticity is a nice glass of warm milk that puts any reader’s disbelief down for a long, comfortable nap.
15. This Thing’s Got Rules, You See

Part of that consistency I’m talking about is maintaining a level of consistency in the rules of your fantasy worlds. Your sex-dragons and sentient blimp-creatures don’t need to act like my sex-dragons and sentient blimp-creatures, but they do need to act in a way we find consistent and believable. Discover the rules of your magic systems. Find out what the zombie magus can and cannot do. What happens if a werewolf tries to make a baby with a mummy? Hell, that’s a good question for all of us to answer whether we’re writing fantasy or not. I don’t want to be sandbagged by some squalling wolf-mummy. **** that, man.
16. The School Of Cool Has Been Shut Down For Serving Re-Heated Poop Mash To Students And Is Pending Investigation Thanks For Your Patience

Don’t put something in your story just because it’s cool. Won’t work. It’ll feel like a third nipple just sitting there, squirting scalding hell-milk in your eye. Elements of fantasy should be cool and work in the greater context of character, setting, theme, whatever. “DUDE SO AWESOME” is not a justification for inclusion.
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Allison
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« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2013, 10:58:30 pm »

17. Gone Off The Reservation

Yes, I’m exhorting you to go big, go weird, or go home. But you can go too weird. You can conjure an insurmountable distance between your world and the audience by being too abstract, for embracing weird just for the sake of it. Byzantine abstractions are fascinating, but they don’t do well in protracted storytelling unless you can somehow help the audience relate to it. We need to find our story in your story. If we can find no recognizable landmarks, if we can find no familiar paths — even murky ones — we won’t connect with your story. The weirder you go the harder you must strive to connect with us.
18. The Chosen One Is Done, Son, Unless He Got Buns, Hon

Personal opinion: the chosen one is over. Kaput. *poop noise* Jesus, King Arthur, Paul Atreides, Rand al’Thor, Spongebob Squarepants, whatever. **** the prophecy. It’s over! It’s a puerile convention in a genre that’s matured well beyond the need for such over-common trappings. Anytime I read, “He’s the one person who can save the kingdom / defeat the monstrous monster-thing / wield the magic sword known as Lion-Tickler,” I just roll my eyes and gently close the book. I no longer buy it. It’s lazy. Do better. (Oh, unless you’re subverting that meme. Then you get a fist bump. And a genital bump, if you’re into it. *eyebrow waggle* Oh, hey okay, since you’re getting out the Taser, maybe not.)
19. If Your Character’s Name Has More Than Six Apostrophes I Will Choke You

If your character’s name has a bunch of consonants jammed together, I will slap your face. If I need a ten-page pronunciation guide to sound out your hero’s name, I will kung-fu your soul. If you’re desperate to make your character names sound “exotic” and “weird” without any cultural underpinnings or consistency, I will clone you and make you fight yourself in a McDonald’s ball pit. If all your fantasy names sound the same (Galen Galorn Galendal Galendel Galendole Gaileen Crystal Gayle GALEYGALEGOOBYGALE) I will pull out your heart, stuff it with acorns, and leave it for the squirrels.
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Allison
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 10:59:51 pm »



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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.
25 Things You Should Know About Writing Fantasy

I don’t write fantasy. Not really. I’ve written it from time to time (my short story collection, Irregular Creatures, has some). And Blackbirds apparently counts as “urban fantasy.”

Just the same, I am woefully underqualified to write this list. But by golly, that’s never stopped me before. So here I am, offering up my “list of 25″ in the fantasy arena. Though I write with a certain authoritative sense of gavel-bangery, please understand that these are just my opinions–

– and shaky, unproven opinions, at that.

Accept. Discuss. Discard.

Do as thou wilt.
1. Nobody Knows What The **** Fantasy Is

Fantasy is a bullseye painted on a horse’s rump just before someone fired a magical spell up under the nag’s tail and set her to stampeding. We can all agree that something that has dragons in it and castles and a great deal of faux Medieval frippery is likely to be considered “fantasy,” but beyond that, it’s hard to say. It probably has magic or deals with the supernatural. It likely avoids science. It might be scary, but not so scary that it be labeled “horror” instead. It’s a fuzzy, muzzy, gauzy, hazy fog-clogged hollow, this genre. As it should be. Genre does best when its definition is decidedly low-fi rather than high-def.
2. Fantastical Fiefdoms

Fantasy is vivisected into various gobbets, limbs and organs — sword-and-sorcery does battle with epic or high fantasy, horror-tinged fantasy used to be “dark fantasy” but now it’s “urban fantasy” or maybe “paranormal fantasy” or maybe “fantasy with vampires and werewolves looking sexy while clad in genital-crushing leathers.” There’s fantasy of myth and fantasy that’s funny and fantasy that’s laced with a thread of science-fiction. You have magic realism and one day we’ll probably have real magicalism and I’m sure there’s a genre of fantasy where lots of fantasy creatures bang the whimsy right out of one another (hot centaur-on-goblin action, yow). Sub-genres have value as marketing tools and as a way to give you some direction and fencing as you write. Otherwise: ignore as you see fit. Or create your own!
3. Rooted In The Real

Reality is fantasy’s best friend. We, the audience, and you, the writer, all live in reality. The problems we understand are real problems. Genuine conflicts. True drama. The drama of families, of lost loves, of financial woes. Cruel neighbors and callow bullies and loved ones dead. This is the nature of write what you know, and the fantasy writer’s version of that is, write what’s real. Which sounds like very bad advice, because last time I checked, none of us were plagued by dragons or sentient fungal cities or old gods come back to haunt us. But that’s not the point — the point is, you use the fantasy to highlight the reality. The dragon is the callow bully. The lease on your fungal apartment is up and your financial woes puts you in tithe to the old gods who in turn make for very bad neighbors. You grab the core essence of a true problem and swaddle it in the mad glittery ribbons of fantasy — and therein you find glorious new permutations of conflict. Reality expressed in mind-boggling ways. Reach for fantasy. Find the reality.
4. Break Reality With Your Magic Hammer, Rearrange The Resultant Shards

Reality also offers up awesomeness in the form of data. You may think, “Well, I can’t research a fantasy world because it doesn’t exist, dummy” but again — root fantasy in the real. Look to actual events. Look to history. Look to culture and religion. Mine truth for fiction. Some cultures (Asian in particular) have a practice where friends and family and villagers help pay for each other’s funerals. Right there, you can take that, tweak it, use it. Drama lives there. What if the village won’t pay for someone’s funeral? Why? What’s the stigma? Why the exile? Adherence to dark magic? Broken oath? Cranky centaur bastard child?
5. Woebetide The Faux Medieval Frippery

Kings and knights and dragons and oaths and tithes and princesses and plumbers rescuing those princesses from giant rage-apes and — okay, wait, maybe not that last part. What I’m saying is, European Medievality (not a word) is the meat-and-potatoes of the fantasy genre. And I think we can do better than meat-and-potatoes. Look beyond that single slice of time and space for your inspiration. What about the 18th century bloody rivalry between chiefs and kings in Hawaii? Or the French Resistance in WWII? Or Masada? Or that time the Ewoks repelled the Empire and blew up the Death Star in their space gliders?
6. Go Weird Or Go Home

The power of fantasy is that you can do anything. Anything at all. You start with that core of reality and from there you’re allowed to grow anything from that fertile seed-bed. And yet, so much fantasy looks like so much other fantasy. Stop that. Embrace the wide open openness of the genre. The power of magic is that it’s motherfucking magic. You are beholden only to that which you yourself create. Go big. Dream weird. Be original. Why do what everyone else has already done?
7. Opinion: The Bravest Fantasy Right Now Is In The Young Adult Space

I’m just putting that out there. Discuss amongst yourselves.
8. People, Man, People

It’s easy to get lost in the shiny crazy bits — dragon undertakers and goblin butlers and the culinary traditions of the Autochthonic Worm Lords. It’s easy to be dizzily dazzled by the sheer overwhelming potential fantasy affords. But at the end of the day, fantasy has to be about characters above ideas, above culture, above all the fiddly fantasy bits. Great characters are our vehicle through the fantasy.
9. The Heart’s Bane

Fantasy fiction often seems to be about external conflict — sieges and escaped gods and blasphemous magic and, I dunno, unicorn orgies. But what we connect to in storytelling is the internal conflict. What lies in the heart of a character is what we understand — and, in fact, relate to — most. Yes, the battlefield is a muddy bloody hell-ground of decapitations and magic missiles, but those two forces are clashing based on the motives of characters — characters who feel betrayed or vengeful, who send nations to die to rescue one lost love, who risk it all because of some real or imagined slight decades before. The human heart — even when encased in an ogre king’s chest — drives fantasy fiction.
10. Dolls Nesting In Dolls

Put differently: find the little story in the big story because the little story needs to actually be the big story. Did you follow that? Let me explain: fantasy is often about epic motherfucking stuff. Quest for the magic boomerang! Dragon Parliament is going to war with the Unicorn Tribe of the Northern Blood Red Shadow Death Crescent-Steppe! Evil has awakened from its thousand year nap and now stumbles drunkenly toward our villages — oh by the gods he’s stubbed his toe and now Evil is very very angry. Those are big stories. And they don’t matter. Not without a compelling little story. The story of a boy in love. The story of a fractured family pulling itself together (or further apart). A coming-of-age tale! The tale of redemption and regret! The big stuff is just a trapping — epic shadows cast on the wall, thrown there by firelight.
11. Building A World Where Nobody Lives

Though the stage is essential, theater is not about the stage. All the pieces on it contribute to the action, the blocking. But theater is not about the stage. Theater is about the stories of people, and so too is fantasy. Fantasy is not about the worldbuilding, though it’s tempting to make it so. It’s a tantalizing proposition, to slide down that muddy chute (get your head out of the gutters, and also, out of other people’s mud-chutes, I mean, unless they invited you) and to keep on going — designing forest ecologies and ossuary cities (bone-o-polis!) and the mating dances of the randy tumescent Ettins. And weeks later you’ve forgotten the story. You’ve lost the characters (if you ever had them). Worldbuilding supports story, but is not itself the story. Worldbuilding is just the stage. It demands attention. But not all of it.
12. The Seduction Of Detail

Fantasy gives itself over to detail very easily. Exposition. Explanation. It feels like, “Well, the readers have never experienced this world before and so I must paint for them every inch.” You can spend a whole page on describing the pommel of a knight’s mighty sword or the density and temperature of pegasus cloaca, and I’ll admit that there exists an audience for that sort of thing — readers who want to be immersed so fully in a world’s minutiae that it bubbles up into their nose. For my money, if the fantasy is more about those details than it is about the story or the characters within it, I’m done. I’m Audi 5000, son.
13. Free Range Cage-Free Fantasy

Grow your world and its many details organically. Meaning, describe it when you need it. The test is easy: can the audience continue without this information? If the answer is no, describe as simply and clearly as you can manage. If the answer is yes, the move on to the stuff we care about.
14. Reality Versus Authenticity

Fantasy would seem the opposite of reality as in, “My reality does not feature merfolk flea markets or werewolves having sex-wars with vampires, and this book has those things aplenty.” And yet, each tale of fantasy must have its own reality and the way you accomplish this is by embracing authenticity. Authenticity makes everything feel real, even when it most certainly is not. Authenticity comes from consistency and confidence in your writing. (Logic and common sense don’t hurt, either.) Authenticity is a nice glass of warm milk that puts any reader’s disbelief down for a long, comfortable nap.
15. This Thing’s Got Rules, You See

Part of that consistency I’m talking about is maintaining a level of consistency in the rules of your fantasy worlds. Your sex-dragons and sentient blimp-creatures don’t need to act like my sex-dragons and sentient blimp-creatures, but they do need to act in a way we find consistent and believable. Discover the rules of your magic systems. Find out what the zombie magus can and cannot do. What happens if a werewolf tries to make a baby with a mummy? Hell, that’s a good question for all of us to answer whether we’re writing fantasy or not. I don’t want to be sandbagged by some squalling wolf-mummy. **** that, man.
16. The School Of Cool Has Been Shut Down For Serving Re-Heated Poop Mash To Students And Is Pending Investigation Thanks For Your Patience

Don’t put something in your story just because it’s cool. Won’t work. It’ll feel like a third nipple just sitting there, squirting scalding hell-milk in your eye. Elements of fantasy should be cool and work in the greater context of character, setting, theme, whatever. “DUDE SO AWESOME” is not a justification for inclusion.
17. Gone Off The Reservation

Yes, I’m exhorting you to go big, go weird, or go home. But you can go too weird. You can conjure an insurmountable distance between your world and the audience by being too abstract, for embracing weird just for the sake of it. Byzantine abstractions are fascinating, but they don’t do well in protracted storytelling unless you can somehow help the audience relate to it. We need to find our story in your story. If we can find no recognizable landmarks, if we can find no familiar paths — even murky ones — we won’t connect with your story. The weirder you go the harder you must strive to connect with us.
18. The Chosen One Is Done, Son, Unless He Got Buns, Hon

Personal opinion: the chosen one is over. Kaput. *poop noise* Jesus, King Arthur, Paul Atreides, Rand al’Thor, Spongebob Squarepants, whatever. **** the prophecy. It’s over! It’s a puerile convention in a genre that’s matured well beyond the need for such over-common trappings. Anytime I read, “He’s the one person who can save the kingdom / defeat the monstrous monster-thing / wield the magic sword known as Lion-Tickler,” I just roll my eyes and gently close the book. I no longer buy it. It’s lazy. Do better. (Oh, unless you’re subverting that meme. Then you get a fist bump. And a genital bump, if you’re into it. *eyebrow waggle* Oh, hey okay, since you’re getting out the Taser, maybe not.)
19. If Your Character’s Name Has More Than Six Apostrophes I Will Choke You

If your character’s name has a bunch of consonants jammed together, I will slap your face. If I need a ten-page pronunciation guide to sound out your hero’s name, I will kung-fu your soul. If you’re desperate to make your character names sound “exotic” and “weird” without any cultural underpinnings or consistency, I will clone you and make you fight yourself in a McDonald’s ball pit. If all your fantasy names sound the same (Galen Galorn Galendal Galendel Galendole Gaileen Crystal Gayle GALEYGALEGOOBYGALE) I will pull out your heart, stuff it with acorns, and leave it for the squirrels.
20. This Way To The Great Egress Ha Ha It’s Actually An Owlbear Lair You Fool

One of the things I really like about fantasy is that it pretends to be escapism. Even the word fantasy suggests an imagined escape. But fantasy can — and perhaps should — be used to explore some really deep, really profound stuff. By stripping away the faculties of real life you crack open bone and open up the marrow. No topic is too weighty for fantasy — life, love, death, marriage, social norms, violence, politics, government, commerce, sex — and yet fantasy is a honeypot, luring you in with promises of a trouble-free escape. That is, in the truest sense of the word, fantastic. (See what I did there?)
21. Maybe You Don’t Need To Write A Ten-Book Epic Cycle

You will not get your giant epic fantasy series (with accompanying 1000-page mythic dictionary) published if you’re a new writer. Some authors can get away with this. Most can’t. Before I tackle any big fantasy series, I wait until it’s all finished. Because suddenly the author starts taking five year breaks between books and then gets hit by a bus before Book Eight and suddenly I’m up poop river without hip-waders.”But now I’ll never find out what becomes of Lady Braidly Manabozho of the Shadowdark Hegemony! Will she be forced to marry Lord Krommng’kar? Will she accept her destiny as one of the Sandmurai and join the Magenta Falconer’s Guild?” Maybe calm down. Start smaller.
22. Read Broadly Lest Ye Regurgitate A Thin Slurry

Don’t read only fantasy. Read histories and mysteries. Read biographies and mythologies, thrillers and chillers. Reading only in your genre ensures you regurgitate your genre.
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Allison
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 11:00:21 pm »

23. **** Tolkien

Tolkien deserves kudos. High-five to him. And now we’re done. Stop emulating him. No more elves and orcs and dwarves. No more slavish D&D devotion. Fantasy isn’t beholden to this dude. Nobody’s forcing you to trample the same grass over and over again. He is not the only example (and fantasy needs few examples, anyway). As a sidenote, “**** Tolkien” sounds like “**** token,” which I think is how one properly accesses an ****. “Ahm, yes, I’m here for the unicorn ****.” “Do you have your **** token?” “I seem to have… lost it.” “Then get lost, pervo.” “But I have this copy of the Silmarillion.” “I said get lost.”
24. Also: No More Hot-Pants Vampires

I like vampires. I do. And I like tight leather pants. Hell, you put a vampire into some tight leather pants and give her a katana, I’m good to go. But, urban fantasy — it’s time. It’s time to back away from the beleathered bloodsuckers and sexy vampire hunters and their hirsute lycanthrope lovers. All the romance and the vampire clans and swords and the two pistols and the sexy tattoos and — I mean, we’re done here, right? Is there nowhere else to go? Can’t you at least file off some serial numbers?
25. Write Down Your Dreams

We dream at night unfettered. Our minds unmoored from the known, lifting and drifting into the unknown. Anything is possible in our dreams. That’s why our dreams are so powerful — we feel something strong upon waking even as the dream breaks apart in our hands like a crust of beach sand. It’s why I encourage writers to write down their dreams if they found them so affecting, and it’s now why I think our dreams serve as an excellent model for fantasy fiction. The same feel I get when dreaming is the same feel I hope to reach when reading fantasy fiction — the sense of being out of my head, of entering territory that is unknown and so becomes both beautiful and frightening in equal measure. I want to believe that the author is not fixed by the rigors of reality or the reagents of the genre and that here, All Things Are Possible. The power of the fantasy is in its limitlessness to explore human imagination. Stop walking the same paths. Stop feeling trapped. Find the dream. Write what you want to write and let that free your fiction.

Fantasy or otherwise.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/06/19/25-things-you-should-know-about-writing-fantasyzzz/
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Allison
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 11:02:23 pm »

Why is it so hard to get a fantasy novel published?
10 Jul

Most books within the fantasy genre are produced by a very few (big) publishing houses in the UK and USA. These are the houses that can afford to take the risk on large print runs because they have many other titles too. They also have significant advantages in economies of scale (cheap distribution, discounted printing, efficient representation to the stores). They produce a few fantasy titles (bad luck, authors) in big volume. Big volume is necessary for most kinds of book printing, but fantasy is the most critical, certainly within fiction.

The Riddler's Gift (First Tale of the Lifesong)Let’s see why. I’m a fantasy fan. I won’t buy a fantasy title unless it is (a) thicker than a doorstop (b) reasonably priced. I don’t buy hardcovers or large format (expensive) paperbacks – I look for that small fat little book which opens up to a world where I can get lost for days and days. The fatter the better.

So to sell, the fantasy book needs to be long, most often double or triple the length of the common novel. That means it costs almost three times the amount to produce. Remember, it’s not just printing we have to consider. Many aspects of the production are proportional to the page count: writing, editing, typography, proofreading as well as warehousing, freight and paper costs.

And yet, the average selling price for these books is very close to that of your mainstream fiction titles. So you’ve got a product which has a low selling price and a high cost price. The only way to get your cost per book down is to drive the size of the print run up.  Short runs or on-demand printing just don’t work when you’ve got a 650+ page book. How does a publisher know how many to print? With an established author, they can go straight away for an effficient print run size. With Mr Dark Debut? It’s a ****.

In a non-fiction niche market (for example, I wrote a guide for Paragliding in South Africa) you could sell a book a third of that size for twice the price because there is limited competition and the information has high value to a small number of people. In a mass market like fiction, even fantasy fiction, there are so many wonderful books out there which your title will compete with, and they dictate the price – as set by the mass market paperback produced in masses. That’s £7.99 thanks to Harper Collins, Penguin, et al. (and now thanks to Amazon, less than £5). So you can get your book all made up via Print On Demand services like CreateSpace, Lulu or Completely Novel, and still be out on the bench with a product that is more expensive than the competitors. If you’re hoping to sell through bookstores across the nation, you need to add the portion of the retail price you’ll lose in the supply chain. That will make your book at least 3 times more expensive than the competition. I don’t care how good your writing is, unless you can make me levitate in my chair I’m not going to buy your one sparkly title instead of three of the top fantasy authors’ new releases.

To combat this problem when I published my debut fantasy novel, I printed 5,000 copies. Was that the right number? I hoped so, but without any experience in the marketplace it was impossible to tell. If I printed fewer than 5,000, the books placed in the bookstore, competitively priced, would have made me no money at all. Truly. If I printed 2,000 copies and sold all of them through the bookstores I would have lost money, because the revenue collected would not have covered  the costs of  bookshop commissions, distribution, delivery, development and printing. I had to go big, or go home.

A key fact which would have been nice to know at the time was that the industry average annual sales per fantasy title in the small South African market was 135 copies. It’s about 800 copies per title in the UK. If that doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks, read it again. That’s for professionally distributed books selling through the stores. If you’re considering self-publishing, be prepared for a fraction of that number.

Let’s return to the fantasy publisher’s dilemma. You’ve written a debut fantasy novel. You want them to publish it. Let’s assume it’s well-written, as good as anything out there. So the publisher knows the most likely outcome is sales of less than 800 copies in the UK (because the authors on the high side of the average are the established authors with their advertising advantage, fan base and skill). The minimum efficient print run is upwards of 3,000 copies. Is it worth taking a chance on the new author, to (maybe) make (a little) money? When faced with this kind of ****, many publishing companies will decide to go for another kind of book. It may not be the quality of the writing they are rejecting, it’s the risk in playing this market. To the street-wise publishers, your fantasy novel might appear to be a dark hole into which you are inviting them to throw their money.

Only someone who believes in magic would try to publish fantasy.

http://greghamerton.com/2010/07/why-is-it-so-hard-to-get-a-fantasy-novel-published/
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Allison
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« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2013, 11:03:12 pm »



    Damien Classen   

    February 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Interesting article. So it looks like you had to self-publish as a result of this? I’m interested to hear more about how that went for you. I wonder if it would simply be easier to start off delving into other genres and then later, when you have some credibility, venturing into fantasy?
     

    greghamerton   

    February 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Yes Damien, I self-published my fantasy novels. In print, not recommended. For Riddler’s Gift, printed 5000, sold 1000; net loss = epic. Print-on-demand no good, price kills sales. However, digital is exploding, and that’s the way to go. Printed 0, sold 1000 last month; all profit. Not sure that gaining ‘cred’ in other genres is a realistic route to eventual fantasy success – if you’re a genre writer you build a readership for a certain kind of book. ‘Cred’ will only get your potential agent to read the second paragraph of your book proposal as well as the first, and the book will only be picked up by a publisher if it has unusual timely impact which is a vague and frustrating goal to aim for. I think you can get more positive results by aiming for the top of the digital fantasy stack, and if you like, submitting each book summary to an agent as you go along.
     

    Ashley Wilda   

    April 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    How do you publish online?? I am a beginning author looking to publish my first fantasy book (when i finish it) Smiley
     

    greghamerton   

    April 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

    You go to https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin and follow your nose from there…
     

    MC Elam   

    September 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I checked out your web site, Greg. Your cover art is terrific. Looking now for a cover design for my book. Can you direct me?
     

    greghamerton   

    September 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Hi MC

    I’m a graphic designer, so I did the covers you can currently see on my website. I’ve recently commissioned some new art for the digital version ( Riddler’s | Second Sight ) – not sure if that’s what you are referring to? If that’s what you’re after chat to http://thedurrrrian.deviantart.com/ or browse through deviantart until you come across a style of art you think fits with the style of your book, then ask the artist for a quote. But that leaves the hard part (creative design) and the subtle art of typography up to you – you have to tell the artist what you want, and it has to be an image that communicates a compelling idea and connects with your target audience and will help your book sell, so you may not be the best person to be designing the cover. If you’d like I can design a cover for you. My design portfolio is here. Email me with what you need and I’ll give you a quote.


http://greghamerton.com/2010/07/why-is-it-so-hard-to-get-a-fantasy-novel-published/
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Allison
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« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2013, 11:13:31 pm »


Mass Effect: Your Fantasy Novel is Too Long (And What to Do About It)

by Daniel Swensen 3 Comments



http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2008/10/20/mgk-versus-his-adolescent-reading-habits/

Image by Mightygodking.

And, right on cue from the previous entry:

I’m in the middle of a fantasy novel at the moment (which shall remain nameless because I’m about to heap a lot of unfair judgment on it), and its leisurely pace is painfully reminding me of a common problem with fantasy novels: too many of them take forever to get anywhere. I’m not talking about raw word count here — a book could be fifteen hundred pages long, as long as things move forward. But too often, they don’t.

For example, I’m two hundred pages into this book, and so far we’ve

    Introduced the characters
    Talked a little about the world
    Some characters have made plans
    They’ve talked about the plans they’ve made
    They’ve had a nice dinner in which they talk about the plans some more
    They reflect on the plans they made and the dinner they had

And that’s really about it. Two hundred pages, and I’m still waiting for something really significant to happen. As Mike Nelson said during MST3K’s send-up of The Undead, “I’ve never known more about what isn’t going on.” I understand that we’re still in the first act and all, but on the other hand, I’ve been reading Roger Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber in parallel, and by a mere ninety pages in, Zelazny has covered:

    A Coronet Blue-style amnesia subplot (now resolved)
    A journey to other dimensions with about ten times the world-building of the above book
    Five different individual battles
    A half-dozen emerging interpersonal conflicts
    An epic city siege

Now, Nine Princes in Amber was written in 1970, and the fantasy market has changed dramatically since then. Still, I’m struck by how dramatically these books differ in pace and brevity. I recently abandoned another fantasy novel midway through, because people were just puttering around a castle discussing interesting things that might possibly happen someday. I’m not talking about foreshadowing or even raising the story stakes — more like the prose equivalent of window-shopping at the mall.

Part of this, I’m sure, is just the market at work — readers want a lot of bang for their buck, and fantasy series can be a lot like car dealerships: why sell the reader just one book when you can sell them ten books over ten years? (Or, in George Martin’s case, five books over fifteen years. Zing!) Also, a lot of fantasy writers grew up with Tolkien and Jordan and epic doorstops that went on for thousands of pages, and so reflect that scale and ambition in their own work — which is fine. But for crying out loud, writers, if you’re going to write a 900-page novel, make something happen.

David Mamet’s infamous memo to the writers of the Unit sums up the matter succinctly:

    EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.

    LOOK AT YOUR LOG LINES. ANY LOGLINE READING “BOB AND SUE DISCUSS…” IS NOT DESCRIBING A DRAMATIC SCENE.

    HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF ****.

    ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER “AS YOU KNOW”, THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF ****.

Brutally put, in true Mamet style, but pointed.

My favorite note on scene and structure comes from a writer whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, but goes like this: if two characters enter a scene, one or both of them must leave the scene changed somehow. If you have characters show up, discuss some things, and leave the same way they came in, nothing has happened. All the clever dialogue or vivid environmental detail in the world won’t change that. This is hardly a trade secret; it’s basic structure. And yet I see writers, even published writers, forgetting or neglecting it all the time.

So if your prose has a bunch of limp scenes in which people discuss the plans they’re not carrying out, please do your readers a favor. Wade in there and start cutting.
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Filed Under: Books, Writing Tagged With: amber, david mamet, fantasy novels, george r.r. martin, mike nelson, mst3k, nine princes in amber, robert jordan, roger zelazny, the undead, the unit
About Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen is a fantasy / sci-fi enthusiast, amateur cineaste, avid reader, and compulsive writer, authoring everything from RPG gamebooks to cell phone advertisements. He lives in the hinterlands with his wife and two cats, and is currently working on a fantasy novel.


http://surlymuse.com/mass-effect-your-fantasy-novel-is-too-long-and-what-to-do-about-it/
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« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2013, 11:16:10 pm »

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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 11:22:40 pm »

How to Pitch Your Novel
Crafting and Delivering the Perfect Writer's Conference Pitch

From Cliff Daigle, former About.com Guide
See More About:

    writer's conferences
    getting published
    pitch sessions
    literary agents

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So you've done the hard part an actually written a publishable novel. Congratulations! Now you just send it out and wait for the bidding war to start right? Well, not exactly. Before you can convince a publisher to buy your work you'll have to get them to read it in the first place.

Publishers and agents are extremely busy people with stacks of promising manuscripts littering their desks already. You need to get your writing not just onto that stack, but right on top.

To do that you need to pitch.
What's a Pitch?

A pitch can be verbal or written and often a combination of both. Verbal pitches are for face-to-face meetings with an agents or publishers. For beginning writers this will most likely be at a writer's conference. These in-person pitch sessions are a great opportunity for you to sell yourself and your writing. You have a real shot at impressing either an agent or editor and getting your manuscript read by the people who can get it published.

In this article we'll focus on the verbal writer's conference pitch, although most of this advice works equally well for a written pitch.

Here's a quick run-down of what you'll need to do before pitching:

    Finish the work. Especially as a beginning writer it's important to have your book completed. Without a solid track record it's difficult to get an agent or publisher interested unless you can first prove you can finish a novel.

    Do some research. Find out which agents and publishers that will be attending the conference. You want to make sure they represent or publish the type of work you do. Don't waste your time and theirs by pitching work that doesn't match their specialties. So get online and do some research!

    Make appointments. Schedule time with as many appropriate agents and editors as you can. The details of how to do this are specific to each conference, so consult the conference's website or your registration info. These appointments fill up quickly, so book early!

    Prepare and practice your pitch. Then practice some more. We'll discuss this in more detail.

    Look your best. Choose appropriate clothes and plan to look like a pro. As superficial as it sounds the publisher is buying you as well as your work. To successfully market your book they will also have to market you as an author. The more you look and act like a professional, the more comfortable agents and editors will be offering you a contract.

    Know what you want. You are not going after a contract quite yet. The sole reason you are pitching is to get agents and editors interested enough in you and your work to actually read it. That's it.

Your pitch itself should be a short, interesting description of your novel that captures its best qualities. Think about the blurb on the back of a paperback novel - that's the level of detail you want. Your pitch should only be about 2-3 minutes long. Remember that your appointments will only be for 10 or 15 minutes each and much of that is made up of questions and small-talk. Keep it short and snappy.

Start your pitch session by introducing yourself, asking a friendly question or two about the conference so far and then beginning your pitch.

Open with something short and catchy. You want a few sentences that describe your novel in the most compelling and intriguing way possible. Here are a few tips to get you started:

    Hollywood-style:This works particularly well for genre fiction. You simply describe your novel as a mix of two other well-known (and profitable!) books or movies. For example: "It's Twilight meets Harry Potter ". Of course you'll have to explain what you mean by that in the rest of your pitch, but if it's an accurate description (and it better be) then you're off to a good start.

    The "Save the Cat" method: Screenwriter and teacher Blake Snyder describes this method for coming up with loglines for film ideas in his popular screenwriting book Save the Cat. It also works well for pitches! The idea is to come up with a sentence or two that describes your novel and includes the following:
        It should be at least somewhat ironic.
        It should paint a compelling mental picture.
        It should give an idea of genre and audience.
        It should have a killer title.

    That's a lot to pack into a couple of sentences, but when you get it right it's worth it.

    Here's a couple from movies you know (courtesy of Save the Cat):

        "A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists." - Die Hard

        "A businessman falls in love with a **** he hires to be his date for the weekend" - Pretty Woman

    Simple, clear and irresistible. This is the essence of your novel. Start here, add some colourful details and you've got a killer pitch.
    Write your own: Using the blurbs on the back of novels as a guide write up a pitch of your own. Make sure to state who your hero is, what his goal is, why he needs it and what's stopping him from getting it. Focus on the conflict at the heart of your book. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this formula.

Hook Them Early

This short intro to your pitch is critical to getting them hooked and wanting to hear more. Write several versions of it (15 to 20 is a good number to shoot for) then pick the best one and polish it until it shines. You can't spend too much time on this - if you nail this part of your pitch you are virtually guaranteed to be asked to submit your manuscript.

Once you've hooked them with your intro then describe your book in a bit more detail. Remember that this is a discussion with other humans and not a lecture. Be natural and passionate and describe the key elements of your story in a minute or two.

When you've finished, end by asking if your novel sounds like something they'd be interested in and take the discussion from there. They will probably have a few questions and then hopefully request a portion of your book to read. At this point be clear about what they are asking for - would they like to read the first few chapters, or the entire manuscript? Get business cards and contact information, thank them and head to your next pitch!
Practice, Practice, Practice

Although pitching sounds difficult and nerve-wracking, it does get easier the more you do it. Most nervousness comes from poor preparation. To make sure you are as relaxed as possible when giving your pitch you should prepare it at least a week ahead of time and practice it daily, out loud. Do this until you can give your pitch in your sleep - the better you know your pitch the easier it will be to relax and be yourself.

Remember that publishers and agents come to these pitch sessions looking for new authors and publishable new works. They need what you are selling. So be confident in your work and in yourself, practice and prepare, and pitch like a pro!

http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/thebusinessofwriting/a/How-To-Pitch-Your-Novel.htm
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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 11:24:54 pm »


My Steps To Self Publishing
Deana Zhollis – Dream Notion

How to find readers for your novel–ACTUAL STEPS! Honest Answer
Posted by Deana Zhollis - October 25th, 2011

Every time I’ve searched for information on how to get readers and/or how to market or promote my novels, I find a “great title” but absolutely NO REAL INFORMATION on what I should do.

That’s been my frustration and one of the main reasons I started this blog. No one provides REAL steps on how to accomplish things. Either that, Or maybe the majority of people don’t know HOW to give steps, like providing driving instructions– they give just pieces of what to do and where to go and you have to try to make sense of it all or figure it out like a puzzle.

Now granted, I understand that if you follow someone else’s steps that it may or may not work out for you, but at least provide something that DID WORK and give some kind of direction, STEPS, on how it got done. If you do find a site that claims they have the actual steps on how to get fans and/or how they self-published and sold thousands of books, you then would have to pay for it, and usually (though I haven’t paid for any information…but I know this is what would happen because the first part of information offered for free isn’t anything useful) it would be just some “workshop-generic” stuff that just wouldn’t help me, because I found that information, FREE, online somewhere else.

So, what if you’ve already done this list below, which seems to be the basic of what I always find online:

    Create a blog
    Create a website
    Put RSS on your sites
    Social media outlets
        Create a Facebook page
        Get a Twitter account
        Sign up for LinkedIn

Then there’s this list that’s practically very hard to do:

    Get Book Reviews
    Begin an email newsletter
    Setup a Book Tour either online or locally

In the beginning, I did dip my toe into sending out to have my books reviewed (just to three places, and yeah, I know that isn’t enough. Like I said, I dipped my toe…and then stopped). And…you know…it reminded me of sending a query letter all over again to publishing houses and agents–the long wait, the rejections, the silent unresponsiveness, the uncertainties. Just like publishing houses and agents, these places that do Book Reviews are SWAMPED. So it’s hard to break in, or to get anyone, to review your book, and to accept you for a Book Tour (You can pay for one of these too, if you like, but see my Slush Pile fear further below). Then, if you DO FINALLY get one or two book reviews, it would take awhile before it’s posted, and they just might not like it, or what if you get a bad review?

I’ve changed my idea on trying to get Book Reviews. And besides, I had always HATED when I went to the bookstore and saw a cool cover, turned the book around and all it had was Reviews and NOTHING to tell me what the book was about. I don’t know who these Reviewers are unless it’s a big name like Stephen King. And the statement about “Best Seller…New York….” review?…this has been sssooo overdone, I’ve just ignore them. I figure, if/when my book starts to get a fan base, my fans will put reviews down for me, and word-of-mouth would be the review. And they did: See Going Free on Amazon…And Book Reviews.

I got confirmation on my new belief on not getting Book Reviews from this person: Brian Spratt. On Number 6 on his page, Letter B, for his Advertising advice, let me quote:

    Reviews-They really don’t do as much as one would think. If so, my books wouldn’t sell for The Unsuspecting Mage, my free book, has been eviscerated repeatedly by reviewers. Yet, it is the one that drives all my sales.

    Think of it this way, no amount of good reviews will mean squat unless someone can find you to read them. Even then, the climate for reviews is suspect.

Now back to the three-item list above. The item regarding the “newsletter” advice….uh DUH! You need a fan-base FIRST to send them to? Unless you PAY for your novel to be sent by someone who already has a subscriber database. I’m always scared of those because I’m thinking that they would be sending my novel and everybody else’s novel to the SAME PEOPLE (Same Blog sites), and, again, my book would just get lost in the Slush Pile.

Then there’s these additional items to do:

    Join forums
        Kindle forums
        Barnes and Noble Nook
    Post comments on blogs
    Have friends and family post USEFUL reviews on Amazon
    Go to the Author Central on Amazon and sign in to make your Author Profile
    Create a Listmania! list on Amazon
    Get Car magnets
    Do Search engine optimization (SEO) on your website/blog
    Make a Book Trailer
    Do the LINK thang

I’ve joined author and writing forums, and then realized, though they are also readers, I wanted to now reach people who weren’t authors and writers. I mean, authors and writers got enough on their plate and probably have a back-load of books they’ve been meaning to take time to read…that is, once they get that next chapter finished…and that next novel completed. Plus, they’re doing the same thing I’m doing, and that’s to sell their books. That’s like two salesmen trying to sell the same product to each other. So, I continue the forums to learn something new, but now I’m turning my focus to finding readers. That was the theory anyway. But then I learned something NEW and my theory of selling to other authors changed. Other authors and writers can help to promote you, they can write reviews of your book, they can give you guest posts and interviews on their blogs, share your stuff with their circles and help reach other readers as well. They can help push your book FORWARD. Staying in touch with these forums keeps the sales going.

As for commenting on blogs…if the blog isn’t already FULL of other comments, who’s to say that yours would even be looked at. Besides, the blog-site might have high traffic or even low ones, but don’t want you posting your URL there. You can try to get around it with spelling it out, but people can see what you are doing. The only thing that will benefit is having your link on a popular blog that will help make your website become more popular by the search engines for having your link there.

Friends and Family? Trying to get your friends and family to post USEFUL Reviews besides “it was great! buy it!” is kind of hard. I mean, I feel like I’m dictating to them on what they need to say and how to state it (Now, children, remember to answer the Who, What, When, Where and How questions when completing the review). And more than likely, that would delay them from commenting because that would take too long to type and they would have to find time to type it. Speaking of delay, they may just be that type to delay anyway, late on everything…especially delaying to read your book in the first place (heh. heh.).

The car magnet idea? It might give me some curious bystander once in a blue moon, to come over and inquire, which has actually been pretty fun Smiley . And the Amazon Author Profile is only useful when someone actually finds you. And the Listmania! is useful if people like what you list, which might be connected to what your write. And doing the LINK thing to increase your site’s popularity, goes along with SEOs. You could also create another website on another topic that you are interested in and post LINKS back to your novel’s website as well. But that’s another topic and readers might not be interested in your novel if it’s not related. Or, they might like your personality and be curious about you and buy your novel…that is, if your novel’s topic happens to be another one of their interests. This also goes along with posting on forums (in your signature is your Link Thang) and comments on other blogs. If you write Reviews for anything that you buy, link it back to your Author Name–that is, spell out your first and last name and post it at the end of your review, and put your URL in your profile (i.e. Amazon products that you’ve bought). Don’t put your website at the end of your review because that just changes the mode of your posting–making it sound as if you WANT something and not GIVING something. If someone likes your review, they would Google your name and/or look at your profile to see who you are. Then, BOOM, your URL is right there for them to see.

As for the SEOs? Please don’t pay anyone or anything for it. I’ve got four (4) pages as “top ranked” and I didn’t do anything but post on my blog information that I just didn’t find anywhere else and no one was talking about it. That’s how you do it. Put the search words, you know, words people would type to find sites on Google, and put them in the Tag lines (NOTE: Google Analytics gives the search words used that direct people to my websites and I put those exact words in my Tag listing), but mainly put it in your Title of your site or blog. And that’s it! That’s all I did. No hard-coding html, no looking up of “keywords” or anything. I just posted up simple things that I wanted to share because I couldn’t find it on anyone else’s site. I did the work to do the deed and shared what I found out. Also, my blog has AGED enough (being that I started it in the latter part of 2008) for the search engines to know that my site isn’t Spam. The obvious about getting “top ranked” is that your site just won’t get there if it’s information that’s already saturated. Example: Science Fiction Author. Those keywords just ain’t gonna cut it. So ::shrug:: gottah find another way out of the slush pile of the internet of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, and that is posting something unique that people might want to read about. My unique things was posting stuff about things I could not find readily on the internet to help me…so I figured it out myself and posted it up.

The Book Trailer, though, was pretty fun to make for me. See my posting about it Book Trailers here. But we’re back to square one–people need to know you’re out there for them to view it. I would recommend Fiverr and do a search for jerrylittlemars to get help on increasing your audience on YouTube. He has some ideas, being that I was a newbie and all, that I had no idea about. Some of the ideas may seem like “cheating” to some people, but the tagging thing on Amazon that some authors take part of (Google: Author Tag Exchange), or “liking” each other Facebook pages, or adding Followers on a huge, already populated list of authors for Twitter… all of that may seem like “cheating” to others as well. Just do what’s comfortable to you, which mean, you can use the tools as it’s intentional purpose–it will take longer, but you’ll benefit from it nonetheless. I, for one, will do a little of this or that (more this than that). And I don’t like to support other Authors if I really don’t like what they write…which makes my list very, very, very, very slim. But does Book Trailers bring readers? Not really. It’s one of those “nice-to-haves” for those who want to know a little bit about your book…when they do hear about it. I wouldn’t pay thousands to have one made…it would be a waste, unless you’re already have a huge fan base and you have that kind of money to support your art.

Advertisements(below): let’s not forget the list suggested for that. Most of them you would have to PAY for (and You know I don’t like that word):

    Google AdWords $$
    Projectwonderful.com $$
    local community/city newspaper $$
    prlog.org FREE
    prweb.com $$
    Pay-Per-Click: Google, GoodReads $$
    Facebook Ads $$

I’m not using two dollar signs to say it’s expensive, I’m just saying that it costs money. I guess advertisement won’t hurt, but I always go for the FREE stuff (See what I said about PrLog). And then there’s that thing of trying to get the reader’s attention (Hey! Marcel! Are you listening to me!… Heh. Heh. I think that AT&T U-verse commercial is funny). You, again have an ad in a slush pile of other ads. AND from what I’ve read, PAYING for advertisement, just doesn’t quite work most of the time. You end up wasting money. But it has worked for others….

Then there’s the other social stuff that requires a little less effort for those who love to read books where you can do GiveAways and ARC.

    GoodReads
    Shelfari
    LibraryThing

You get involved in these communities and also suggest your book and/or provide free books with GiveAway promotions. Just don’t put up only your books on your read list and only have YOUR BOOKS always on the forefront of your entire profile/login and in your ENTIRE conversation. Be a part of the community because you’re also reading other works. Learn about the community in order to become a part of it. For me, however, I barely have time to write, let alone read books. So, this will come later for me…when I have that time again, to really get into the community, I think it would help–but I did sign up. I listed some books I’ve read 20+ years ago on Shelfari (I used somewhat the same list I have on Listmania on Amazon), only because Shelfari is connected to Author Central. See my “What the Heck” blog on what happened when I did that. I also exported the Shelfari list and imported into GoodReads and LibraryThing. Easy Peasy. Writers are Readers–we love books! So, reading and talking about books you like makes you a part of something fun!

You can also do the GiveAway by providing coupons to people through Smashwords. Do the coupon instead of using your own money of gifting in Amazon, which, though you get some money back, you have to pay taxes on it. And, if you do use Amazon for gifting, use a limited credit card–i.e. gift credit card you can buy from a store. Do not use your personal credit card, to buy it. It helps manage things better, and keep the Credit people from thinking someone stole your credit card (one author posted) for buying items for people overseas. Offering ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) to readers is something you can do too. ARC is a proof of a book prior to full distribution. They are usually not the final copy of the novel and are uncorrected. It’s used for promotional purposes–NOT FOR MONEY. You don’t sale ARC books. But getting people to WANT your ARC is the same as trying to get a Book Review.

Then comes the bottom line about getting readers….

If none of this is working for you, then the last thing you need to do, the online “helpful” people state, is:

    Make sure you have a polished book (grammar, edited, good cover etc.), and a well written one, because that might just be the problem

What if you’ve already did this (hired the editor, great cover book artist) and you know your book is professionally done and there’s still no one buying your books and there’s still no traffic coming to your blog and/or website?

How do you get those readers darnit!

Sooo…how do you do that?

You might be a bit disappointed of my answer because you wanted answers to that MAJOR question…but if you’ve looked everywhere like me, you’ll see that there isn’t one. You might feel jilted and bamboozled because you read this entire thing for an answer, and that’s exactly how I felt doing this research. THERE IS NOT AN ANSWER. That’s the bottom line. No answer. Nope. No answer. None. Zip. Zelch. Nada. Nothing. Nooooo.

And when I can’t find an answer, then I come up with my own. That’s what you do, and that’s how things happen. During this journey, I’ve come to the end and seen the answer; and though all the things that I’ve stated above sounds negative and pessimistic–and that’s only because none of it will guarantee ANYTHING–my answer on to how to market and get your book notice…?


DO IT ALL!



Do every thing that you can possibly do to be seen. DO EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!

My personal example…

In 2009, I didn’t sell a single book..the ENTIRE year.
In 2010, I didn’t sell but ONE book, and that was in December.
From December 2010 – February 2011 I was selling one (1) book a month on Kindle.
Then starting March 2011, there were four (4) books on Kindle.
In April, it went to three (3) books sold on Kindle.
In May 2011, there were three (3) books sold on Kindle.
In June 2011, there were six (6) books sold on Kindle.
In July 2011, there were seven (7) books sold on Kindle, along with my new book I just added this month, making four published books total.
In August 2011, there were 40 books sold on Kindle, because Irid, amazingly, went free. See my What The Heck! posting. I had lowered my pricing to $0.99 as well to encourage more buys. And at Diesel, through Smashwords, sold six (6) novels. I then raised the price again back to $2.99 before September.
In September 2011, there were about forty (40) books sold on Kindle..and the sales kept up a few weeks after my book stopped being free. (Any sales for Smashwords this month, I have to wait on reporting because they have to wait on the other stores to send them their report).
In October 2011, sales have trickled down to 19 on Kindle, so far this month.

It might sound like very small potatoes and numbers to you…but for me IT SOUNDS GREAT!! I don’t know where these readers came from or how I did it (I didn’t sell anything in 2009 or 2010–well, one book in 2010). It might be when I started giving my books for FREE on Smashwords (i.e. Nook as well), and going FREE on Amazon definitely helped. I have no idea. But, I highly suggest you do that, being a new author, make your book Free, because who can’t pass up a Free Book? And who wants to spend money, and take a wager, on someone they don’t know? Give your book away…for FREE. I know, you want to get paid for all that hard work and all that money that you put into this project, but to get money, you have to spend money/loose money…and build a fan base.

BETTER YET, think of this strategy as NOT HAVING TO PAY FOR ADVERTISEMENT. This is how Word-Of-Mouth helps you out. FREE is a marketing tool. You’ll reach a lot of people this way, and it will save you hours and hours of trying to market it yourself. It’s worth it. Also, just because it is Free doesn’t necessarily mean people would be interested in it–so, don’t be fooled. They might not like the description, or sample, and pass it up. OR, they just might like it enough to actually purchase one of your other books. If you don’t want to do the FREE thing, do the $0.99 thing. Call it a PULL (as Role Playing Gamers call it when positioning a Boss Monster for the kill). Pull your fans to you. Give to Receive. Provide service in order to be served. The yin and the yang. And with each hard step, or fun one, you will reach your goals.

I’ve reached my goal!

Yep, I sure did. These small potatoes of sells have MET MY GOAL! Yep. Yep. All I wanted was a few “strangers” to read my stories. That’s it. I didn’t have a number of “how many,” I just wanted someone to be interested.

And someone was…interested. YEAH! WHO-YAH!
Take that FATE! Take it! Take it!

Yeah! I’m EXCITED with a capital E.T. !

I’ve done the deed and met the goal without the “formula” to do it–because there is no formula.

JA Konrath

    Chance. Luck. Randomness. We hate these things, because we want to be in control of our careers. We want to believe that working hard will make us winners.

    That isn’t necessarily true. But working hard can improve your odds at success.

No one has a formula of what will be popular. If one Book was popular, someone could take another book, do the exactly same things for promoting it and it bombs. You don’t have to be popular or famous or already in the marketing to know this. Just look around at music and TV shows and movies. Ideas are started, and those who started the idea become shocked with the results when it becomes popular. Case in point: Married… with Children (TV show) and The Simpsons.

Then there’s shows that I really, really liked: Witches of Eastwick, Journey Man, John Doe, Stargate Universe, WitchBlade, The Dresden Files, TheBackYardigans…and they were all cancelled before I was ready for them to go. But shows like Smallville goes on for years (I like Smallville, but not as much as I liked those others I listed that were cancelled). And look at The Bee Movie. Great animation, great line-up of actors, but the story and so called “comedy” was horrible! And how about that famous photo V-J Day in Times Square. Who knew that a photo like that would last for lifetimes! And those other iconic photos: The Kent State Massacre and the Vietnam War, and Marilyn Monroe’s flying dress, and the raising of the U.S. Flag on Iwo Jima. So, you get what I’m saying. No one knows and no one has the golden key. So…


DO EVERYTHING!

And that’s what you have to do. Increase your Odds.

Increasing the amount of stories for consumption would help too.
WRITE MORE BOOKS

Yep. Increase your odds. Get working on those novels, short stories, novellas…. The more works out there, the more consumption, the more readers, and more of keeping it NEW.

And make a few of them FREE!

Aaannnndddd…lower your expectations. Yeah. lower them. Start with small goals and when you meet them, then start another. My goal?…To reach a few strangers who might like my book. DONE! My next goal? I wanted (Past Tense “wanted”) to see those FREE Books on Smashwords numbers continue to increase. I wanted them to keep going until they’ve reach 5,000–for one book, not a combination of them. That was my goal.

It didn’t happen.

What did happen was that I surpassed the 5,000 downloads goal when my book IRID went free on Amazon. Over 8,000 downloads!

Goal met!

My next goal? To keep my trickle of buys per week…UP. How to do that? I’m working on an idea and we’ll see if it works.

Back on topic on goals: Small accomplishing goals. Think Small. Any other way of thinking, you might as well be thinking of winning the lottery (see this blog on Publish your book or play the lottery?). So, really? You’re gonna win the lottery? That’s what is means to be as “successful like Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and Amanda Hocking” is all about. You have to change your mindset…and build gradually…and define your own success. But You CAN make a living, according to Dean Wesley Smith on his blog: You CAN Make Money Writing Fiction. All you need is dozens of books for your store instead of having a store and only selling ONE (1) item. Having a store with MULTIPLE things for purchase can help you make money.

Read: So You Want To Become A Bestselling Author–Here’s How (Part 1)

It might redirect your mental aim a bit and get you where you need to go. Because running after the Lottery would only smother your spirit. And you give up. You stop. And become bitter. Instead of concentrating on increasing your merchandises for purchase, you just stop.

So, continue to do it all. DO EVERYTHING. And after you’ve done everything, then there’s TIME. Yep, time. You have to wait. Let things build up. Just like webpages have to age to be accepted as legitimate sites, so does your name and book titles. You have to wait and wait and wait. And while you’re waiting, you’re writing; and while you’re writing, you’re blogging and socializing. DON’T SELL–SOCIALIZE! Do the things you love to do online and become social. The more you’re out there and become a part of many different communities, the more people get to learn about you and what you do. Then you wait some more, and get more novels out there, and wait some more, and communicate to the online communities, and wait some more. Some writers state it takes anywhere from 9 months to 2 years before your books starts getting noticed and bought.

I don’t mean to disappoint anyone, but that’s the Honest Answer….so don’t go paying for one, because it’s not out there.

You might say, “Well, you’re not successful! You’re not selling thousands of books!” To me, that’s the same thing as saying, “Well, you’re not a millionaire! So, you’re not successful!” And to both of those statements I’ll say, “Successful? Why, yes I am!” Because I met my goal. I have a house. I’m debt free (meaning, no credit cards and everything paid in cash); both cars paid off, student loan is history, a little savings, a daughter, a cat, and a wonderful husband who cooks my breakfast, lunch and dinner (I do the cleaning); and I can travel twice a year for vacations; and we’re not living from paycheck to paycheck. Now that’s successful in life for me. And it took years to build it–from elementary to college to temporary jobs to professional experience, to giving up cable, to saving and not spending on things that are not “needful”, and doing a lot of stuff myself (my hair, my lawn–though now we can afford someone else to do the lawn–ironing instead of dry cleaning, etc. etc.). This is the same as self-publishing.

My novels? I have a few strangers buying…and it’s slowly building. And I got a few more books that I’m working to release. I’ll let you know if I’m still not successful in a few years, and even then, I’ll tell you the same thing: “Why, yes I am!” Because I wrote my first book in 1997 (finished two years later) and didn’t decide to self-publish and do the “Do It Yourself” project and get it out there until 2008. I wrote books over the years, and today I can afford to pay an editor and a Cover Designer, when I couldn’t 12 years ago. And my book is being bought! Something that wasn’t happening several years ago.

You understand what I’m saying now? Remember your first job? I do. Mine was at Del Taco. Am I still working there? Heh. Heh. Not in your life. So that’s why I can honestly say, if you ask if I’m successful in a few years… my answer will still be: “Why, yes I am!”

Your goal is to be successful, and to do that, you have to make your own way and find and define your own answer, because it’s the uniqueness of things that are popular.


JUST DO IT! DO EVERYTHING!

http://dreamnotion.zhollis.com/2011/10/25/how-to-find-readers-for-your-novel-actual-steps-honest-answer/
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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2013, 11:26:24 pm »


THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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Authors, I want to buy your book so get over here!

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message 1: by Carol (new)
May 24, 2011 02:29am

Carol (CarolBridgestock) | 14 comments Hi Shane!
Thank-you for the link! We hope you are well. Good luck with your book! We will pick it up!
We've having a really exciting time as the sample books have just arrived from our publisher for our first crime fiction novel and we have just heard that the eBook had gone live.
A national newspaper rates it a ‘Cracking Story,’ and famous script writer P J Hammond of Midsomer Murders, Sapphire & Steele etc. says ‘I think it's marvellous. It's both witty and harrowing, and the dialogue and characters are great. It also reveals so much about working coppers' problems with the system. I know this sort of thing has been dealt with in previous police stories, but you bring a deeper insight to it without being preachy or pretentious. Most importantly, the police characters are believable and one cares about them. The mortuary viewing scene with the dead child is heartbreaking. In fact, it's a difficult book to put down.
If you’d like to download the first two chapters of 'Deadly Focus' you can do so by visiting our website www.rcbridgestock.com. I hope you get the time to read them and enjoy! The second book in the RC Bridgestock series is due out in August and it's called 'Consequences’; Book 3 is with the publisher for consideration and Book 4 is ready to be re-written.
Exciting times!
Kind regards,
Carol

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message 2: by David P (new)
May 24, 2011 02:48am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Hi Shane - I am one of a growing group of people who believe that encouraging people to give books away or sell them for ridiculously low prices like $0.99 is damaging access to decent writing. I would never buy a book that was priced at 99 cents - I would assume it was rubbish and even if, as I am sure applies to your writing, it is not poor - it is bad news for all authors. I would like readers not stalkers!

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message 3: by Marc (new)
May 24, 2011 03:40am

Marc (AuthorGuy) | 91 comments David wrote: "Hi Shane - I am one of a growing group of people who believe that encouraging people to give books away or sell them for ridiculously low prices like $0.99 is damaging access to decent writing. I w..."

I have a few stories on smashwords for 99 cents, but they're all short stories. My latest novel is up there for 2.99.

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message 4: by Sean (new)
May 24, 2011 04:53am

Sean Cronin | 109 comments Shane wrote: "Hello everyone my name is Shane Porteous and I am a first time published author. My book Rasciss tells the story of Hollowawk a man who literally defied death and now must face the wrath of petty g..."

Great offer Shane. I fell ya - everyone does review Harry Potter, etc.
I'm not on smashwords now. But, in part thanks to you, I'll look into it.
Sean

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message 5: by C. (new)
May 24, 2011 04:54am

C. C. (cjoybellc) | 26 comments I don't know what smashwords is.... but I'm on kindle... but not for 99 cents.... Smiley but if you want, you can check me out anyway and see if you're interested in my work.... au revoir! merci! Smiley

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message 6: by David P (last edited May 24, 2011 06:00am) (new)
May 24, 2011 05:58am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Shane wrote: "David wrote: "Hi Shane - I am one of a growing group of people who believe that encouraging people to give books away or sell them for ridiculously low prices like $0.99 is damaging access to decen..."

I apologise for obviously offending you Shane. It was not my intention at all. I do however feel that this constant obsession with driving down the price of books is short sighted and ridiculous. Fortunately, Amazon at least will not allow you to publish for less than $2.99 which I think is reasonable for a short story and whilst I am a fan of Smashwords, I would not sell for $0.99 anyway - particularly as I believe any reader should have an even playing field on pricing, if the vendor discounts that's his choice - but I'm not going to encourage readers to buy from any particular vendor - which I would be doing if I priced differently on different platforms or publishers. My comment about stalkers refers to an earlier discussion. People were justifying charging little or giving stuff away free as 'creating a following' - experience suggests that this is the literary equivelent of having a stalker as opposed to having a girlfriend! Perhaps one should remember that senses of humour differ on a national basis and jokes really are not transferable across the pond! Good luck with your project though, but I won't be selling my books for $0.99 ever - I'd rather stop publishing! I would give genuine reviewers the book for free - but there are lots of people out there who are not real reviewers and simply look to keep their reading lists well stocked without actually ever buying anything.

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message 7: by Sharon (new)
May 24, 2011 06:06am

Sharon (fiona64) | 415 comments I have only one 99 cent book (and one free one) on Smashwords -- and the former is non-fiction and the latter is essays. Neither of these are in your genres of preference, but I appreciate your interest. If you (or anyone, for that matter) still want to check out my work, here is my Smashwords page: Sharon E. Cathcart

BTW, the "sweet spot" for eBook pricing seems to be between $1.99 and 3.99 in my experience. My pricing decisions are based on a number of factors. For example, my essay sampler is fewer than 10 thousands words and I give it away. Yet, I see people with 850 word eBooks for which they are attempting to charge $8.99 or more. I don't know what drives *their* algorithm, but I would definitely not feel right asking such a thing.

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message 8: by Thad (last edited May 25, 2011 09:57am) (new)
May 25, 2011 09:57am

Thad Brown | 16 comments Shane, I really appreciate this offer! My short story The Smoking Gun Sisterhood: Chapter One Biker Angel is available for 99 cents on Smashwords at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/... . (It's the first story in my The Smoking Gun Sisterhood collection, which is where the publisher got that "Chapter One" terminology, but the stories are actually mostly not connected at all, except by genre or theme --they all have pistol-packing heroines.) I wouldn't hold you to reading it if you think it's not something you might enjoy; but if you'd want to make it one of your fifty after reading the description, I'd be honored!

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message 9: by Thad (new)
May 26, 2011 09:10am

Thad Brown | 16 comments Great! Thanks a bunch, Shane.

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message 10: by Thad (last edited Jun 01, 2011 06:09am) (new)
May 27, 2011 05:18am

Thad Brown | 16 comments Shane, I found your review (and voted just now to "like" it). Glad you liked the story!

(As a footnote, not all of the male characters in the other stories in this collection are sexist and interested in only one thing -but you're right that the lowlifes in this one certainly are.)

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message 11: by Thad (new)
Jun 01, 2011 06:13am

Thad Brown | 16 comments Yes, Shane, you're exactly right; you could only review the one story you read, so that was no criticism of your accurate assessment of the male characters there! (I just wanted to let folks know that not all of my male characters are in that mold.)

You've made a really generous offer here. Frankly, I'm surprised more authors aren't making use of it!

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message 12: by Judy (new)
Jun 01, 2011 08:49am

Judy (Judy5cents) | 11 comments Right now, there are just sooooooooo many Smashwords authors on Goodreads, all selling ebooks for 99 cents, it's the literary equivalent of walking into one of those "Everything's a Dollar" store. Yes, you'll probably find something really great for just 99 cents, but most of the stuff they sell is cheap junk. With all those people trying to hawk their 99 centers on Goodreads, you have to come up with a way to show your book is special. And when you do, please let me know, so I can use it.

I'd love to offer you my book, Tree Huggers which is available at B&N in Nook form, but it costs $5.49. But that's way better than the retail price for the paperback which is $16.00. I'd always wished the price would come down on my books because people don't want to spend that kind of money on a book from an unknown, but I'm inclined to believe that 99 cents sounds too cheap.

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message 13: by David P (new)
Jun 01, 2011 10:24am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Judy wrote: "Right now, there are just sooooooooo many Smashwords authors on Goodreads, all selling ebooks for 99 cents, it's the literary equivalent of walking into one of those "Everything's a Dollar" store. ..."

You are differentiating yourself Judy - by charging a sensible price! You are quite right that most books sold for 99 cents are junk - and if they aren't then they deserve to be treated as such. I personally would never buy a 99 cents book - I don't even read the blurb - I simply move on to a sensibly priced book and read the blurb there. I still might not buy it if I don't like the sound of it - but then at least I've given it a chance which the 99 cents offerings don't get - at least with me and I suspect an increasing number of disappointed readers!

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message 14: by Thad (new)
Jun 01, 2011 05:37pm

Thad Brown | 16 comments We've had some discussion above on the issue of pricing writings at 99 cents. So far I think it's generated more heat than light, which is probably understandable where people believe that their own income is being threatened. It's quite probable this post may only wind up adding to the heat as well, but I'm honestly hoping it will contribute some light instead.

Four points are worth making here. First, authors who aren't self-published generally don't set the prices for their works (and even if they are self-published, they may use a printing service that has ideas of its own); and second, there is a significant difference between full-length books and short stories, even though both can be electronically published as stand- alones. A half dozen of my short stories are for sale online for 99 cents, and they sell for that price on Amazon, too; I believe the $2.99 rule only applies to full books. When the book-length collection is finally published as an e-book, it will certainly cost more, which I feel is appropriate. But in any case, the price was set by the publisher. Until the printed Trestle Press edition of the collection is available, I'm still selling a self-published one for $11.70 ($6.49 for the e-book); but that's the lowest price I'm allowed to charge by the printing service I use, though I could have made it higher. I elected to opt for the lowest price to make the book more affordable to readers.

That brings us to the third point --not all readers nor all Goodreads members are independently wealthy. For some of us, and in this economy I suspect many of us, purchasing brand-new books is a luxury that may compete with our families' actual needs, and which is hard to justify when we can read all the books we want for free from a library. When we do buy a book, price is definitely a big factor in the decision. If I can buy a whole book (that I actually would want to read) at a yard sale for 50 cents, I feel quite glad, not demeaned and self-degraded. In that light, I don't find the idea of paying several dollars for a mere short story especially cost effective. So, yes, I'm a writer with the economic self interests of a writer; but I'm also a reader who understands the economic realities of other readers, and that colors my attitudes on book pricing. Frankly, I never expected to get rich from my writing, or even to make a living from it; I just love writing, and love sharing what I write with others who enjoy it. If you expect, and even need, to make more from your writing, and if you believe your optimum price (for a short story, or whatever) for doing that is higher than 99 cents, that's fine with me; I respect your right, or your publisher's right, to charge what you want to. (I'd appreciate the same courtesy, though I might not receive it.) But competition from stories sold for 99 cents is not a significant reason that you have limited sales. Whatever it pleases you to believe, if those were all gone tomorrow, the basic realities of today's book trade, and of the larger economy that shapes it, would be exactly what they are today.

Finally, the fourth point. David, you wrote "most books sold for 99 cents are junk --and if they aren't then they deserve to be treated as such" (sight unseen, no questions asked, and no attempt made at a reading). Your opinion of my writing doesn't worry me, because I think most Goodreaders would trust the reviews of people who've read it over the blanket dismissal of someone who hasn't. (Although, given your concern over your own income as a writer, it's ironic that you have no qualms about deliberately trying to hurt other author's income!) But whether you're able to recognize it or not, that kind of slur on the writing of myself and other James Masoners, and a good many others, who've put as much time, effort and passion into their craft as you have, to create literary works that have given real enjoyment to many readers and said things we felt needed to be said, is personally offensive, boorish, and rude; and it doesn't reflect badly on anybody here except yourself.

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message 15: by David P (new)
Jun 02, 2011 01:36am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Thad wrote: "We've had some discussion above on the issue of pricing writings at 99 cents. So far I think it's generated more heat than light, which is probably understandable where people believe that their o..."

Hi Thad - sorry you feel I have insulted your writing by suggesting that most books (and I did say most) books sold for 99 cents are junk. Frankly they are - how do you think I came to the conclusion that they were a waste of time even contemplating in the first place? I also would turn your argument around to say you are distorting the market by charging ridiculously low prices for your books - you are potentially damaging other authors who perhaps take their occupation a little less whimsically than you do. I fully agree prices vary according to the perceived value of the work - in my opinion $2.99 is fine for a short story - (in fact Kindle Direct Publishing doesn't allow you to charge less as I understand it - obviously they also see the requirement to make a profit.

I would continue to strongly argue that anyone who cared about the future of writing should continue to avoid books sold at silly prices and stop undermining writers by trying to set a price point where nobody can make any money. There is very little in this world someone can't make a little worse and a little cheaper.

If you are interested in readers I would suggest you might like to encourage writers to get a return for their work, not add to their demise by undermining their craft.

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message 16: by David P (last edited Jun 02, 2011 05:35am) (new)
Jun 02, 2011 05:34am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Shane wrote: "David wrote: "Thad wrote: "We've had some discussion above on the issue of pricing writings at 99 cents. So far I think it's generated more heat than light, which is probably understandable where ..."

Hi Shane - good to debate these things and understand where you are coming from. I try not to promote my writing too blatently on these threads because I am genuinely interested in the subject. I publish everything in e-book format and with as many outlets as possible. Some short stories I ONLY publish in e-format as this enables people to download at low cost (in my case $2.99 - which I consider cheap enough)- the idea of publishing a paperback version of a short story I do not consider to be commercially viable. Wherever I have a full length novel or an anthology of short stories I also publish in paperback. Another of (okay let's call it a prejudice ;-)) or foibles, I also very rarely buy anything that is ONLY produced in e-book form (unless it is a short)- it always seems to me that something only published in digital form didn't have enough confidence from anyone to publish - not even the author! Whilst I download books for reading on my Kindle - I only do it for things I feel I need to read, rather than want to read and own. I, like you, prefer paper based books - anything I wish to own or are likely to read more than once, I always buy in paperback form.

So, to summarise, I publish all full length books or anthologies in paper and e-book form, I charge about half the price of the paperback book for the e-book version (usually $6.99 as opposed to around $13.00) and shorts for $2.99 - in e-book form only) - I think that provides a significant acknowledgement of the lower production and fullfillment costs of e-books versus paper, whilst still acknowledging some value in the content (i.e. the story).

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message 17: by Sharon (new)
Jun 02, 2011 06:34am

Sharon (fiona64) | 415 comments I have weighed in to a certain degree already, but I would suggest that the next time you're on B&N or Amazon, look for the tag "too expensive for an eBook" or "too expensive for Kindle" ... and see how many people are complaining about paying $9.99 for a full-length eBook. That's the same price as a trade paperback -- which has significantly more costs to create.

I started out with my novel at $5 -- and found that I sold far more at $2.95 -- volume is what creates the income. EBoook sales are outstripping paperback sales by a long chalk, and the idea that you can determine the value of a book's contents by its cover price is ludicrous. I would feel like I was cheating a reader by charging them $2.99 for a single short story, to be honest.

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message 18: by David P (new)
Jun 02, 2011 07:13am

David P Elliot (davidpelliot) | 201 comments Sharon wrote: "I have weighed in to a certain degree already, but I would suggest that the next time you're on B&N or Amazon, look for the tag "too expensive for an eBook" or "too expensive for Kindle" ... and se..."

Interesting? - so why do Amazon insist they are a minimum of $2.99 then?

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message 19: by Werner (new)
Jun 02, 2011 09:43am

Werner | 410 comments Sharon, apropos of your point, I have a vampire story on sale at Amazon for 99 cents. (As was pointed out above, Amazon does NOT require $2.99 minimum prices for short stories.) One person who bought it for that price later complained that, although it was a good enough story, he/she had expected it to be a full length novel (though the publisher's description explicitly said "short story"). So that tells us something about the climate of reader expectations that we're dealing with.

I heartily agree with Shane and Sharon's patient explanations above of the economic facts of pricing dynamics. And Shane, thank you for this thread, and for the kind and helpful thing you tried to do for fellow authors. Like you, I regret the fact that it was inexcusably hijacked!

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message 20: by Sharon (new)
Jun 02, 2011 10:03am

Sharon (fiona64) | 415 comments David wrote: "Interesting? - so why do Amazon insist they are a minimum of $2.99 then? "

Their profit margin, I rather imagine. However, if you look you will find that there are several full-length books priced at less than $2.99 -- because they are available elsewhere for less and Amazon does price matching.

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message 21: by Virginia (new)
Jun 02, 2011 05:31pm

Virginia Llorca (virginiallorca) | 111 comments Most books I hear of I get at the library. Our house just has too many already. But I do go with the certain sign up specials from the book clubs. I gaze hungrily at the shelves in the bookstores and practice self-control, sometimes because I have to. But I just forked over $39 plus shipping for a certain 1920 printing of The Mill on the Floss that I know is a beautiful edition. Go figure.

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message 22: by [deleted user] (new)
Jun 02, 2011 06:28pm

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...

My book is on Smashwords for the asking for free. Free coupon to download. Smiley

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message 23: by Michael (new)
Jun 02, 2011 10:01pm

Michael LaRocca (MichaelEdits) | 50 comments http://www.editormichael.com/?page_id... has all the details about:

Vigilante Justice
Lazarus
Conundrum
The Chronicles of a Lost Soul
Rising From The Ashes
How Red Is My Neck?
Skull Dance

Guess what? Three of those are free. Enjoy!

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message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 02, 2011 10:45pm) (new)
Jun 02, 2011 10:45pm

Shane wrote: "Sonia wrote: "http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...

My book is on Smashwords for the asking for free. Free coupon to download. Smiley"

how do I download it for free?"

Here it is Shane. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...
Coupon Code: GZ76T

Please feel free to use it. Smiley

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/560589-authors-i-want-to-buy-your-book-so-get-over-here
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« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2013, 11:35:38 pm »

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« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2013, 11:36:44 pm »

How To Get A Literary Agent: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding Representation For Your Novel Or Nonfiction Book

If you’re new to the publishing industry, literary agents can seem kind of mysterious. The task of getting a literary agent to represent your nonfiction book or novel can be a daunting experience.

But fear not! Writer’s Relief is here to demystify the process of getting a literary agent. You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

Whether you’re new to the game or a veteran, you’ll find something useful in our Writers Tool Kit!
Everything You Wanted To Know About Getting a Literary Agent But Were Afraid To Ask

    What Literary Agents Do (And Don’t Do) For Writers. Not quite sure about an agent’s role? Let us illuminate the process.
    The Difference Between A Literary Agent And An Editor. Don’t worry. You’re not crazy! There IS a lot of overlap between agents and editors. But there are key differences too.
    Why You Should Query Literary Agents Before Moving On To “Plan B.” Before you decide to skip the step of getting an agent, read this. Seriously. You’ll save yourself trouble later on.
    Warning Signs: How To Spot A Bad Literary Agent. How to know a publishing piranha when you see one.
    Bad Literary Agencies: How To Protect Yourself. How to avoid said piranhas.
    How Much Money Can I Make Writing Books?  We all dream of riches…but what are the chances?
    Patience. How long will it take to get a book published?
    5 Things That Can Go Wrong If A Writer Doesn’t Have A Literary Agent. Find out what might happen if you don’t have a literary agent on your side.

Are You In A Good Position To Submit To Agents?

Before you begin submitting, it’s time to start establishing a persona for yourself as a (soon to be) successful, published author. If you start thinking about your author platform AFTER you submit, then you’re going about the process of getting a literary agent backward.

It’s a tough biz. Before you start querying agents, be sure you’re the “complete package” as an author. These articles will help:

    Should A Writer Finish His/Her Book Before Submitting?  Novels and nonfiction books are two very different beasts in the publishing industry! Be sure you know the rules.
    Author Platforms: What They Are, Why Agents And Editors Look For Them. Not sure about this whole author platform thing? We’ve got your back.
    10 Ways An Author Website Can Enhance Your Writing Career. Your author website may be key to impressing movers and shakers in the publishing industry.
    9 Ways To Become More Googleable – A Primer For Reputation-Building Writers. If the only Web page popping up under your name is a white pages listing, it’s time to increase your visibility.
    The Importance of Building Publication Credits. Thinking you’ll skip the step of paying your dues with smaller publications? Maybe you want to think again.
    Book Excerpts: Can They Get Your Manuscript Published? You bet. We’ll tell you how.
    Novels And Books: Why Your Opening Pages Are Key To Landing A Literary Agent. You only get one chance to impress your readers. We expound on just how important the first pages of your book really are.
    Five Tips For Your First Five Pages. Craft tips for grabbing your reader’s attention on page one.
    How To Write A Synopsis For A Novel. Most literary agents want a two- to three-page synopsis of your book. Here are our tips.
    How To Send A Manuscript To A Literary Agent. Find out what you need to know to prepare your book query before sending it out to agents.
    How Long Does It Take To Get A Book Published? How long can you expect to wait before getting your book published?

Special Considerations: Genre, Market Forces, and More

When it comes to submitting to literary agents, certain genres have particular “rules.” Be sure you take any special considerations into account so you can nail your submissions!

    literary agents and your bookHow Do You Know If Your Novel Is Literary Or Mainstream Fiction? How Long Is A General Fiction Book? If you don’t how long most books are, or whether you’re writing literary or mainstream fiction, this one’s for you.
    Genre Fiction Rules: Find Out If Your Novel Meets Publishers’ And Literary Agents’ Criteria For Publication. Do you know the best length for your particular commercial genre? Don’t let a botched word count be an instant deal breaker!
    Don’t Know Your Book Genre? Here’s What To Do. Let’s say you’re familiar with the genres your book could be…but which is it? Here are tips to help you decide.
    Fiction Or Nonfiction? Memoir Or Novel? Some books aren’t entirely fiction or nonfiction. Here’s how you should decide to position and market your mixed genre book.
    After Self-Publishing: Find An Agent And A Publisher For Your Self-Published Book. How to transition from self-published to traditionally published.
    How To Write A Query Letter For A Self-Published Book. Self-published books come with particular challenges and rewards. Here’s how to address them in your query letter.
    How To Publish A Short Story Collection: Tips For Getting Agents’ And Editors’ Attention For Your Short Stories. Short story collections are tricky. Doable but tricky. Our tips are key.
    How To Publish A Collection Of Essays. Like story collections, essay collections can be difficult to place. But our tips will increase your odds.
    The Art of the Nonfiction Book Proposal. Nonfiction (of the how-to and self-help varieties) is sold via proposal. Here’s how to write one for a literary agent.
    How, Why, And When To Write An Introduction For A Nonfiction Book. Sometimes, a good introduction can go a long way toward getting your nonfiction book published.

Where To Start Researching Literary Agents

There are many ways to identify the best literary agents for your unique books. But we’ll warn you: It can take a long time! We’re happy to offer our tips for finding literary agents who are right for your book. But if you’d rather be writing than researching literary agencies, Writer’s Relief can help.

How Writer’s Relief Can Help You Find A Literary Agent

    How To Research The Best Literary Agents For Your Book.  A good agent is hard to find. But we’ve got strategies.
    How To Interpret Submission Guidelines. Be sure you understand the lingo of submissions before clicking SEND.
    Network Up! How To Meet Literary Agents and Editors on the Web. Publishing professionals are out there, if you know where to look.
    New Literary Agents: 5 Questions To Ask Before Querying A Newbie. Before you send your query off to a brand-new literary agent, here are five questions to ask.
    Should I Submit My Book To Literary Agents In The Summer? There are rumors that summertime is slow in the publishing biz. But summer submissions actually have big advantages. So take a look!
    Top Ten Ways To Annoy Literary Agents. Okay, this article is mostly just for fun. But be sure you’re not actually doing any of these things!

Write Your Query Letter

Writing your query letter for a novel or nonfiction bookOnce you know the market, have prepared a complete book (or proposal), and identified your marketing niche in the publishing industry, it’s time to start writing your query letter!

We’ve written many articles about penning query letters that can help grab the attention of literary agents. We’ve helped many of our clients get literary agents (and book deals!).

When you’re ready to get started on the query letter that you’re going to send to literary agents, read this: Query Letters: Everything You Must Know To Dazzle Literary Agents With Your Book Query.
After You Send Your Queries To Literary Agencies

The waiting game begins… Literary agents tend to take a while to respond to unsolicited submissions. But use your time wisely! Instead of twiddling your literary thumbs, research more agencies, build your Web presence, and prepare your strategy to respond to agent requests.

    When And How To Follow Up With (Or Nudge) A Literary Agent About Your Book Query. Before you call or drop by an agent’s office, read this!
    When A Literary Agent Requests An Exclusive: Solutions For Sticky Situations. Some agents want to tie up your manuscript so other agents can’t consider it. Here’s what to do when that happens.
    How To Handle Literary Agent Manuscript Requests. After you stop doing the happy dance, here are strategies that will help you make the most of manuscript requests.
    Is A Good Literary Agent Good Enough? There are many so-so literary agents out there eager for new projects. But does that mean you should sign with one?
    Nine Questions To Ask A Literary Agent. These questions will help you decide if the agent who offered for your book is the right agent for you.
    Literary Agent Contracts: How To Protect Your Rights. Before you sign a contract with a literary agency, know the industry standards (and what your options are).
    When Your Agent Is Also Your Publisher. Some literary agents are opening publishing companies to help their authors self-publish. We give you the pros and cons of this practice.

Rejections From Literary Agents

We love rejection letters. Seriously. Why? Because if you’re NOT getting rejection letters, it means you’re not submitting often enough. Even well-targeted submissions can be regularly rejected due to forces beyond a writer’s control.

These articles will help you deal with rejections from literary agents—and get fewer of them down the road!

    How To Interpret Rejection Letters From Literary Agents. Don’t toss your rejections into the fire the moment you get them. They can offer a lot of valuable information if you know how to read between the lines.
    The Best Way To Resend Your Novel or Nonfiction Book To A Literary Agent. Did you revise after your rejections? There’s a right way and a wrong way if you’re thinking of submitting again.
    Editors and Literary Agents: Why They’re Just Not That Into You. Still getting rejections? It might be time to amp up your X factor.
    Red Flags: Shortcuts That Agents Will Use To Reject Your Writing. Some readers will use shortcuts to reject your work without even reading it. Learn to avoid making these common submission mistakes!
    Famous Author Quotations About Rejection. The writers you love talk about their experiences with rejections.
    True Stories Of Unbelievable Rejections. You’ll be surprised by the wild rejection letters that the best writers in the business once received.
    Five Literary Flops (And How They Changed The World). Some books that were initially hailed as clunkers went on to become some of the most beloved books of all time.

How Writer’s Relief Can Help You Find A Literary Agent

Writer’s Relief has been helping creative writers submit their novels, memoirs, and nonfiction books to literary agents since 1994. We compose query letters, proofread and format submission pages, AND research the best literary agents for a given book project.

Our clients have ranged from promising new authors to best-sellers and award-winners. Here are our basic packages:

    Full Service: Our most inclusive package. We take care of everything for you. This is as low-stress as submissions get. Authors by invitation only.
    A La Carte PLUS: Everything that comes with our standard A La Carte service, with the bonus of query letter writing.
    A La Carte: Let us research and target the 25+ agents who are best-suited for your unique book. We do the research, you do the rest.

More Articles

    Wikipedia: About Literary Agents
    Guide To Literary Agents Blog
    Association of Authors’ Representatives
    Preditors and Editors: All About Agents

Closing Notes

This page has been a labor of love to help do-it-yourself authors. We hope you’ve found it helpful in your search to find a literary agent for your novel or nonfiction book!

If you liked this page, let us know. And let your friends know. We like to support the literary community—and we need to know that our efforts are helpful.

recommend this page about literary agentsPlease take a moment to like, share, email, tweet, or stumble this page!

And if you’d like to repost any of our articles, you can! Just email info@wrelief.com for details.

We wish you all the best in finding a literary agent. Let us know how we can help!
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