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“Starting your book is only the first five miles of a twenty-six-mile marathon that’s one-third of a triathlon (authoring, publishing, and entrepreneuring).”

― Guy Kawasaki, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

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Hello fellow writers and publishers,

Since the completion of my first indie publication, my focus has been on marketing. Oh joy! I’ve spent a good amount of time studying the topic through online courses and video presentations.

One of my favorite sites is LiveWriteThrive, an excellent writing blog by C.S. Lakin. Take a look at her current and past blogs for whatever fictional element you are studying.

I’ve also become aware of some good writing and publishing courses through Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy.

A few of my main conclusions from these various lessons are:

  • Selection of genre categories plays a huge part in book accessibility and sales
  • It’s important to identify niche genres that sell well but don’t have tough competition, as well as larger categories (requires a balance here)
  • It’s important to narrow our focus to target a specific audience rather than casting too wide a net
  • It’s important to understand how to analyze books in our niche genre with regard to cover design, keywords, and description, so we can categorize our books alongside best sellers in that genre
  • It’s important to keep praying as we do our best to follow trends and suggestions
  • Amazon marketing can be elusive, and sometimes downright ridiculous. For example, the first edition of my book, Other Side of the River, is currently listed at $1009.67 (for the paperback). Wish I could share in the royalties for that sale!

I am seated precariously on the wagon of building my email subscriber list. I have questions as to how assertive I want to be in collecting subscribers, because I react negatively to pushy emails. So that’s something I’m still working on.

I came across a suggestion to do one thing every day for three years (yes, it said years) with regard to marketing my book. Yesterday (May 16) I emailed reviewers of my first edition and asked them if they would be so kind as to transfer their reviews to the site of the current edition. Sometimes Amazon does this automatically, sometimes not.

Here’s one more thing required from the indie author: legal deposit of every form of your work. In Canada, where I live, I was directed to Library and Archives Canada—Legal Deposit. Since my print book is POD (print on demand), I was only required to send in one copy of my book. Make sure you check this out according to the law of the country in which you reside.

I found out that for the print version, I was able to send a gift copy to the address in Ottawa (gifting seems to be available for print books on amazon.ca but not for digital format). That meant purchasing the book and paying for shipping, but it was fairly easy to accomplish this online. In the process, I spent a few minutes on the phone with a lovely French woman. She was so much fun to talk with, which is highly unusual in the arena of governmental beaurocracy, that I just had to call her a second time!

For the digital format, all I had to do was send a .pdf copy of the book after registering with the digital records division.

Meanwhile, I think the best thing I can do as an indie author is to get back to work on the sequel.writer-1129708_960_720

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Today I’d like to introduce you to Andy McKell. Read about his ideas below…

Ideas to Ink

by Andy McKell

I read of a literary agent who dreaded parties. “Someone always sidles up, saying they have this great story idea, but don’t know how to write a book, and maybe one of my authors would appreciate the idea?”

The agent responds, “The problem is…” But we’ll come back to the problem.andy mckell photo

They say everyone has a book in them, it’s just getting it out into the word that’s hard. These party people have ideas – good and bad – but ideas, at least. Each wants to share, to have stories created around the skeleton of an idea, for life to be breathed into sketchy characters… They just don’t  commit to the page. So they are not writers. Not writers until they write; only aspirant authors until they publish.

What drives someone to commit thoughts into words for others to read? What is the urge to share ideas and fantasies, an urge so strong that all the hurdles fall away? It drove our ancestors since the earliest days, in cave-paintings dotted around the secret places of the world through to ancient folk-tale myths like Gilgamesh (over twenty thousand years ago).

The early storyteller was probably as much a physical actor as a wordsmith, performing action scenes, animating characters, filling the shadows with a vast supporting cast of enemies and monsters, manipulating audience emotions in real-time… and getting immediate feedback on their work.

Oh, joy! Immediate feedback; faster than the click of a speeding “Like”; more visceral than a harsh Amazon review.

The urge might be ancient, but it escaped me for a long time. A teenage science nerd, I was not in the circle around the campfire, spinning yarns. I hated creative writing. My father helped  by suggesting improvements. But my dependency grew. Finally, he dictated the entire story. I’m sure he enjoyed it. A superb yarn-spinner, he would have been a tale-telling superstar in the elder days. Sadly, my homework differed so much from my classwork, my teacher remarked, “Tell your father his work is improving.”

For my degree, I took painfully long to learn how to produce fifty pages of text for a Politics or Sociology essay; I felt I had said it all in three. Many scientists moving into Social Sciences suffer this experience, it seems.

I worked in Marketing. A great place for purple prose and creative exaggeration? No. I was an analyst; back to math, stats and dry, concise reports.

Then came computer programming and interactive websites… Believe me, a computer is a much stricter proof-reader than any human being. The slightest error – even a single, stray semi-colon – makes it fall into a deep sulk, or go insane and exterminate humanity. Okay, your household tablet might not be a Terminator, but even a humble tablet can have aspirations.

So, back to our literary agent. I promised you his response.

“The problem is,” he said, “authors don’t lack ideas, they have too many ideas. They lack lifespan!”

Check out Andy’s social media sites below:

Email andy@andymckell.com
Blog http://andymckell.com
http://twitter.com/AndyMcKell
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mckell
https://www.facebook.com/AndyMcKell.Author

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