My Publishing Journey

When my publisher retired, I had 4 books at retail outlets online, POD at Amazon, and distributed by Smashwords. Changing over to self-publishing would be easy, I thought.

Not so easy. At CreateSpace, the POD arm of Amazon, I began the process, submitting PDF’s for each book and cover, getting new ISBN’s(free at Library and Archives Canada) for each version and making sure that no vestige of the old publisher remained in the documents. These were then uploaded, assessed and if passed, a proof available on line and if wanted, in paper(for a fee). It’s taken longer than I thought it would and the books aren’t available on Amazon as yet. Along the way I  used Acrobat Pro DC, a terrific program. I’m proofing No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace, while en route to visit my family in Bermuda. I started at the end of the series rather than the beginning because I am making changes in the cover art.

Karen Phillips, of Phillips Covers, is designing covers for all 4 of the published books and for the as yet untitled fifth book in the Dangerous Journeys series. The covers will have common fonts and set-up and a logo. When the latest book is ready to go to press, I’ll present them as a boxed set wherever that is possible.

That brings me to Smashwords, the company set up by Mark Coker, that publishes and distributes e-books to all the major retailers except Amazon, unless one has sold $2000US of the title at Smashwords.

The initial process to change over to me was easy. Arline Chase, at Write Words Inc. turned over the files to me and there they were, all set up to go. Except, her publishing company’s name was in all the books, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to add a chapter of the preceding book to the next one in the series. That meant getting the original files, adding matter at the end, learning about the page numbering system at Smashwords, and then uploading.

The page numbering? It has to be consistent with their’s and changing it, with my rudimentary knowledge of the finer points of Word, meant hours spent learning and then renumbering. Finally, both cover and content were through the Meatgrinder(that’s the name) and on to Autovetter. This program found errors that at first I didn’t even understand that were left-over ghosts of a pdf file in the Word document I was using.

I’m at the end of the Smashwords process for No Motive for Murder and it and The Child on the Terrace are available under my new imprint From The River Publishing, at Smashwords. The older books are there as well, and at Kobo, Nook, and many other fine e-book retailers.

Oh, yes. The first of my series, Murderous Roots, is free online at all those retailers. No time limit on that and I’ve developed new lower pricing for Volumes 2-4.

One final thought. I’m working on a new web site for my imprint From The River Publishing. It will be available at fromtheriverpublishing.ca. I’ll post the news when it goes live.

That’s it for a sunny Sunday in March.

 

Book Sale

Smashwords. com, the company that distributes my ebooks has a promotion coming on March 5 through March 11. I have enrolled all my books. Murderous Roots will be, as always, free, and the others 50% off. Coupon code, active only at Smashwords on those dates is RAE50.

As many of you know, my publisher, Arline Chase, of Write Words Inc., has retired from the business and I am in the process of revising and republishing under my new imprint From The River Publishing. The books will continue to be available at Smashwords in the meantime, but not at Amazon until the process is complete.

I’m excited to be working with gifted designer Karen Phillips on new covers for Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. She designed the covers for No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace.

 

New Directions

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

My work-in-progress, a novel, occupies most of my time these days. I’m revising. Last fall, I won a prize at The Book Promoter: an editorial review by editor/agent Svetlana Pironko of the Author Rights Agency.

After talking with her and reviewing the changes she suggested, I began a revision, this time on paper. I’m eighty pages in.

BUSINESS WRITING

As well, I follow a course from Susan Anderson — Freelance Writers Bootcamp — on writing for business, either business to business or business to client. Some of the types of writing she teaches — blogging, content writing for web-sites, white papers — are interesting to me. Her course teaches how to do those and about 10 more.

WORDPRESS

Yes, I have a WordPress blog and even my own domain name at Wordpress —ginny200.com — but I set it all up with only rudimentary knowledge. An article on Mashable, 13 cheap(or free) online classes to boost your digital skills, led me to a course called WordPress for Beginners. I’m taking it now.

EDITING

I have an extensive library of books about editing, everything from Self-editing for Fiction Writers, by Rennie Browne and Dave King, to the most recent, The Frugal Editor by Carolyn  Howard-Johnson. A favourite is Revision and Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell.

All this to explain that I’ve been busy this winter.

Signs of Spring amidst Revision and Marketing

Ides of March. For Americans, the taxman cometh. We’re waiting for spring, a spring the weather gurus tell us is going to be delayed. No one told the buds on the chestnut trees out front. They started to swell before the deep freeze ended.

Work goes on. Marketing and revision of my work-in-progress. In June, I’m joining Barbara Kyle’s Master class for revision of my first thirty pages.

The Child on the Terrace is still in advanced copy mode but soon I must send the final changes to the publisher. Most of my  reviewers, busy people all, have yet to get back to me.

Revision is difficult work, akin to juggling multiple objects rather than a simple set of coloured rubber balls. I’ve been following a blogger, Janice Hardy who calls her site Fiction University. She is half-way through a month of blogs on the process and very useful they are. Today’s is here, http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/03/day-fifteen-clean-up-description-and.html#more but all the previous blogs plus a great deal more is available on her site. Well worth multiple visits.

This week I attended a dinner and lecture at the Canadian Club. The speaker mentioned a local artist, long-deceased, named W.A. Goodwin. As it happens we have one of his watercolours. When I bought it, I investigated him and found a lengthy newspaper record. He lived to almost 100 years old and was a well-know citizen. I did some of his family genealogy as well. Magpie that I am, I kept it all.

After the meeting, the manager of the local museum called me and asked to see it. The museum is mounting an extensive show from an archive of material the researchers acquired on loan from the family. I was pleased to contribute our painting and some of the information I’d gathered to their archive. Find the museum here: http://www.oldegaolmuseum.ca/exhibits.html

The museum created a Facebook page for W.A. with pictures, paintings, diary entries and more. An interesting and charming page.

https://www.facebook.com/W.A.Goodwin

 

Buds on chestnut trees, March, 2015

Buds on chestnut trees, March, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Four Writing Resources

It’s March 1, St. David’s day, patron saint of Wales. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant. Here in Kawartha Lakes it’s a bit warmer than it has been. -6C rather than -25C, but we’re going to get a bit more snow. But it’s the first of March with twenty more days until Spring arrives, we hope.March, 2014March, 2013March, 2013March, 2013

Wild Turkeys at Elora, March, 2014Wild Turkeys at Elora, March, 2014(photo Anne Simpson)

And yet Spring still came each year.

I attended a workshop at University of Guelph on Friday, March 20, to hear Barbara Kyle talk about the writing process. She is a generous teacher and at the end of the workshop session gave each of us access to a tutorial series online that she recorded some years ago. It is an excellent review of everything from Style to Getting Published. I’ve been listening to one tutorial a day before beginning the day’s work of revision. Invaluable.

If you haven’t heard her speak or visited her website, I recommend it. Barbara Kyle.

Writing resources can be anything from excellent teachers to books on grammar, from programmes like Scrivener to a friend who’s willing to read revisions. Over the years, I’ve found all of these and more.

1. Writescape

2. Barbara Kyle

3. Writers Digest

4. Scrivener and Scapple at Literature and Latte.

And then there’s marketing. I’m still searching for reviewers and will send copies either e-book or trade paperback on request.

Check out my booklaunch page for information about The Child on the Terrace.

Marketing and Revising: Ways and Means and Help

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Setenil de Las Bodegas, Spain, setting for The Child on the Terrace

I spent most of this week learning about marketing. Earlier, I received a series of e-mails from Nick Stephenson, writer and teacher of marketing about “Your First 10K readers“. He supplied 3 videos on the subject. Well worth the time spent, if only for the insight into how Amazon and other on-line retailers find books, but also for the methods of applying that insight to one’s own books. I haven’t applied his method as yet, mostly because, as I have a publishing contract, choosing such things as category and key words isn’t up to me. However, I shall put together a plan and suggest it to the publisher, Cambridge Books.

Laurence O’Bryan at Books Go Social offers a great service, connecting authors with each other and customers.

I’m revising my next book, working title Saving Fillide. One bit of advice that keeps popping up is to “kill your darlings”. and I did just that, moving the opening of the book to the third chapter. It has made for a more suspenseful opening, but in the process, I lost some back story and one subplot that needs to go back in but in a different place and manner.

Barbara Kyle, at a Turning Leaves, a Writescape retreat, suggested a book by her agent, Al Zuckerman, called Writing the Blockbuster Novel and it is immeasurably helpful in revision. I’m attending a workshop Barbara is giving on Friday, Feb. 20th at the University of Guelph Writers’ Workshop on Crafting the Bestseller; Your first 50 Pages and know I will learn more. She is an excellent teacher.

The Child on the Terrace is now available on major e-book sites. Connect through the link to my book launch page.Winters_Child_RT_jpgSM copy2

16 ways to market a novel.

A beautiful Sunday morning here in Southern Ontario, cold but with a robins-egg blue sky and a touch of fresh snow, patterned with long shadows by the rising sun.

The work for this winter is two-fold: marketing The Child on the Terrace and rewriting Saving Fillide. Last week I reviewed a critique of the first twenty pages of Saving Fillide by an editor, Lindsay Guzzardo, of The Editorial Company. Included in her recommendations was advice that I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King, which I had some years ago and Syd Field’s Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting.

Screenwriting? No, I’m not writing a movie or television script, but Field’s book is an excellent source of advice about plotting.

Marketing. Marketing wasn’t a part of the writing career that I gave much thought to in 1998 when I scribbled the beginning of Murderous Roots but since then I’ve spent many hours thinking about it, designing web sites and book launch pages, researching promotional sites and twitter services. The list of people who would be happy to take money for alerting the world of the internet to a new book is endless. A list of sites I’ve looked at and think worthwhile to consider include:

1. Enchanted Book Promotions. This service provides everything from a one day book launch package to a full promotional service with blog tours of many lengths.

2. AskDavid. This tweeting service and book review site is inexpensive, easy to use and delivers.

3. BooksgoSocial Lawrence O’Bryan’s business includes promotion, book reviews, an author page and a very active Facebook page for authors to connect with other authors.

4. 1888PressRelease: Another paid service that I’ve used twice before. Packages vary in add-ons. You can pick which package has the most potential value for your writing business.

5. Booklaunch.io A site that allows you to design a book landing page with all the required elements, including video trailers and links to many online booksellers imbedded in the page. Click to see mine for No Motive for Murder.

Book review sites:

6. The Book Report Book review site on radio.

7. The New Kindle Book Review This site has a book contest as well as reviews.

8. Dealsharingaunt Book reviews, contests and giveaways.

Other Suggestions:

9. Authors you know. Ask for review.

10. Authors you have an introduction to. Can’t hurt to ask politely.

11. Local Media:

Newspapers, radio stations, television stations.

Other ways to market

12. The authors pages at Crime Writers of Canada, The Writers Union of Canada, Canadian Authors Association.

13. Email your friends.

14. Mailchimp: Mailchimp is a service which allows you to set up an email sign-up page, develop a marketing letter and send it off in a marketing campaign.

15. Email librarians in the neighbourhood that a new book is available.

16. Book contests: I’m looking at a number of contests and lists of contests to send The Child on the Terrace to this year.

US Book News

Epic’s  awards for e-books.

Ippys awards for books from independents, self-published, small presses.

Bath Novel Award

Exeter novel prize.

So that’s it so far. But the most important is word of mouth, so don’t forget Facebook, Goodreads, Wattpad, tell your friends, tell your aunt, tell your coworkers, tell the checkout girls at the grocery store. Take those speaking engagements, go to the book clubs. Blog. And sometime in there find time to work on the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Marketing Tools

I’ve been working this week on developing tools I’ll need to market The Child on the Terrace.

Booklaunch.io: This site offers the development of landing pages. So of course I asked: What is a landing page? Turns out it is a page dedicated to a new book, ready to embed on a website, blog, Facebook etc, with all the information needed to market. It’s easy, once the book is listed on Amazon, the booklaunch software grabs the information and the design process begins. Lots of customization all ready available, with more to come, I’m sure.

The Child on the Terrace doesn’t have an Amazon number or 10 digit ISBN as yet, so I used No Motive for Murder as the practice book. See the page at https://booklaunch.io/10202081974970941/nomotiveformurder

The aim is to make buying the book as easy as possible to someone who lands on the page from anywhere: this blog, my website, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Mailchimp Part of marketing is an email campaign and Mailchimp has thousands of users who send newsletters to their customers with information about their products along with other content the user may like.

For example, a newsletter may be simply an announcement of the release of a new book, along with content such as the first chapter or the cover art, or a short story featuring the characters of the book.

I’ve been developing a sign-up form as well as a campaign ready to send when The Child on the Terrace is released.

I’m having trouble integrating the form with my blog because it seems I may have to upgrade to get the features I want, including the sign-up form. The form is all ready to view and for sign-up on the Facebook page for Dangerous Journeys as well as on my Twitter feed @ginnywinters

Book Reviews: To generate book reviews I’ll send advance reading copies to those kind people who have reviewed my other books, contact websites such as The New Kindle Book Review and the Gumshoe Review, and perhaps ask other authors that I’ve met or corresponded with to review for me as well. Anyone interested in reviewing, please contact me by commenting below.

That’s about it for this Sunday in December. The rest of the day I’ll devote to wrapping presents, phoning distant relatives, and deciding what to make for brunch for my visiting family on Boxing Day.

Happy Christmas to all.

Five sites for marketing the book

After three novels and many short stories that failed to make me the wealthy writer, I set out to learn about marketing. Hiring a firm to do PR for the novel is out of the question for me and I suspect most of us, but buying pieces of the marketing is not. Some of what I found is below.

I started by, of course, googling the idea on Firefox to check the Alexa rating of the various offerings. For those who don’t know, lower is better and means more visitors to the site.

AskDavid.com Alexa rank 95,082.A free service for listing your books and promoting them on twitter. . The site starts with 5 free tweets and a further 30 are $10 dollars, and expands the reach of your own twitter account, at least for me.

1888PressRelease  Alexa rank 18,430. I’ve used this one twice at the 50$ level. It performs as advertised. They vet your release and send it out when you want. Many levels of distribution including Free.

Book Buzzr Alexa rank 130,343. I set up my free site on BookBuzzr this weekend. It includes a number of goodies including a flip-book feature for the my page on their site as well as on my website. Check that out at virginiawinters.ca. I haven’t added a subscription as yet but I may when my new book, The Child on the Terrace is released.

Books go Social Alexa Rank 569,998. No Motive for Murder is listed on this site(for a fee). The Facebook group is active and after the first book, new ones can be added for $39. Owner Lawrence O’Bryan tells me there are more than 300,000 followers now. He’d like three reviews and then he will promote on the site. A good site to look for books from indie authors.

Enchanted Book Promotion Alexa rank 910,437. This site sets up blog tours, release parties(on-line), writes press releases, develops full marketing plans: all for different fees. One author I contacted said that he had signed up at the Princess level($100) and the site performed as advertised. He didn’t know if it increased sales or not. Levels start at $29 and go up from there with additional tour stops or services at increasing cost.

If you have any other sites, strategies or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Publishing and waiting cont.

I heard from the publisher a couple of days ago, well, two, that  No Motive for Murder, the proof copy is on its way to me. Now the waiting depends on the USA post office, Canada Post and customs.

In the meantime, I’m working on the press release and trying to solve a strange problem. For some reason, Word for Mac can’t connect with Amazon from a hyperlink in a document. It connects with Barnes&Nobel, my local bookstore, the publisher, but not Amazon.

I joined a site called Blogtour.org which puts together bloggers and people who want to promote  a book. Kersten L. Kelly is touring for her new book Ec*o*nom*ics: A Simple Twist on Normalcy. I’ll be hosting her on Sept. 5/2012 for a guest post and an author interview.