Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Have the Power

HA, LuLu has now given me the power to control the price of my book. They have a new tool that let's me set a discount price just like the major bookstores do. See, here is the crap deal shoved down your throat if you wan't your book on sites like Barnes and Noble- they set the royalty amount and then charge customers whatever they want. Eventually, most all books end up like $9.99, but retail stays like $18.89. But now LuLu has given me the ability to set the price from my print-on-demand publisher just as competitive! Ya planet! You may be able to buy my book for $9.99 at major stores someday, but you can buy my book right now for $11.89 at LuLu.com/olson727.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What is a Guest Blog? Click here to see mine.

I learned a new thing this week which is not surprising cuz I don't know much. There is this thing called a "guest blog" and it is a great way of getting free advertising. I signed up to do one like a long time ago and this week I got an email reminding me. Well, I actually had no idea what I was supposed to do. Did they call me? Did they email questions? Did I call them?

So here it is, you write a blurb and they post it on their webpage with a cover of your book. How cool is that? I applied the tricks you are supposed to apply when sending inquiries to agents/publishers only i kept in mind that I wanted people to actually buy the book. The main thing I tried to do was to give the reader of the blog some idea of how I write. I am sure it sucks, but I am a neurotic writer. The blog owner was beyond kind in adding a small bit about how her daughter couldn't put the book down like ever.

Guest blogs are proof that people out there are really awesome.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Stores are Killing Themselves

Ok, so here is some info you need if you are considering print-on-demand publishing with any company that will get your books to a major distributer- major bookstores, like Barnes and Nobel, will not allow your customers to return it. For the life of me I can not figure out what the difference is, but I am sure it has something to do with archaic distribution methods that they are unwilling to change. So, if your customer receives a book that was defective, through no fault of their own, that person is screwed.

One more thing, print-on-demand books are not welcome in the stores. They will placate you and say that a committee will review it, but if you are not a friend or relative it ain't happening. I appreciate the honesty of the regional manger at Barnes and Nobel.

These issues will become more and prevalent as more of us choose to be environmentally responsible with our art. So, the moral of this story is that people need to buy electronic or go to a print-on-demand publisher like LuLu.com to purchase an actual book, they have most all of them now, if you want to be green.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Social Media is All

Facebook has been almost solely responsible for all of my book sales. I paid for a press release and tons of people looked at my book, but not one sale. I sent free copies to family and I sold like 3 books from their recommendations. I sent out free books to Facebook friends and thanks to their raves on Facebook I've sold books. I am not even sure how many books were sold thanks to the reviews written on Amazon.com, but it wasn't very many at all.

Fact 1- people don't have much money at all.
Fact 2- people are not forking out $20 bucks for a book unless it is an impulse buy at the store, or unless a person they trust recommends it. And then, they won't always go through the hassle of ordering it online and waiting for it in the mail.
Fact 3- Publishers who have exclusive rights to bookstore shelves (unless you jump through fire laden hoops) generally only want friend's family and famous people to work with.
Fact 4- The only reason anyone is buying my book is because it is actually good. PRODUCT FIRST! You must create an amazing product!

PS, this blog has resulted in zero sales. I did however send a book to reader in Australia, cuz you can buy the book there I swear, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Promotion is Crazy

So I spend most of my day trying to get people to read my book and seeing what type of assets have magically showed up. You can now buy my book in three online stores in Australia. I have no idea how to get anyone in Australia to even try my book, but it is still cool. I've sold most of my books through the Kindle store which wasn't even part of the whole LuLu publishing package, but I don't believe I would be selling most any of them without such a great looking cover. Every single one of my meager sales is due in total to a recommendation from someone else and a cool cover. I spent money to make a press release and I gave Facebook money to advertise my book resulting in absolutely no sales. People are friends of the book and will click that they like it, but no sales. One person puts that they loved the book on Kindle's facebook and WAM.

Moral of the story:
Write a great story that gives the reader what they want and give away your book so that you too can sell a few books.

The real moral:
Get a real job. Food good.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kindle and iBook

I paid a wonderful company to create file conversions so that I can publish my book as a Kindle and an iBook. The company is ebookarchitects.com and they do not even bill you until you feel the files and everything are perfect. I am pretty talented at the whole changing files stuff and tried to do it myself, but seriously don't even bother. It cost me $150 for both converted file formates which is less then it would cost me in frustration and lost writing time. I also asked LuLu about help with converting the file but they asked $200 for only the iBook format. In this situation I am glad I chose the other company. Still lov'n LuLu, you just have to take each of your needs and do your research.

Book sales are practically non-existent for me, but it has been only four weeks and I am competing with a mind boggling amount of competitors. I can only scream, "But mine is insanely fun," so loud. I just keep telling myself that this was an experiment and move on to my next challenge.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Worldwide Distribution

LuLu has made my book available for purchase in the United Kingdom as part of the whole package I purchased. Unfortunately, the only reason I knew that is because I did a search on Google Books. The whole book selling engine is so enormous that you are left to sit and wait for things to happen. The book is also available at Books A Million and Barns and Noble. LuLu makes these things happen quietly.

I am still waiting for my book's conversion to iBooks' file and Kindle files. It is a roller coaster ride. : )

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lets Start a Revolution in Literature

I just read an article about how all authors, 10 out of 10, who do not go the traditional publishing do not do it because they were unable to meet the high standards of writing required by agents and publishers; the result being a poorly written book.

I wanted to just scream at the computer screen. First of all, who is to say what is good or bad writing? The agent? The CEO of the printing house? Or the author. There are many crappy novels throughout the brief existence of novels that are considered master pieces. The traditional publishers don't touch experimental literature with a ten foot pole because they might not make very much money from it. This leaves our world the sadder for it. So, people like me who are not trying to make a bazzillion dollars and who have written something that agents and publishers hope never to have to deal with again (vampires) to publish on my own. This is not a reflection on my talent.

And the people of this world NEED to purchase more books from places like LuLu.com so that authors can eat and pay rent. Read experimental literature, damn it. If we don't support the art, it will suffer and die.

Use the reviews at places like Amazon and seek out unknown authors. They may suck, but when was the last time you bought a book at a bookstore and it sucked? Ya.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nice to Know

So, as it turns out, it is common for a book that is listed on Amazon.com to be made available before the cover art is posted. I just have to wait. Just like I have to wait six weeks for an iPad version and a Kindle version to be ready.

I am not so good at waiting.

And I would like to take a moment and beg you to please buy the book if you are finding this information helpful at all because I will have to get a real job if I don't sell some more copies.

;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

OMG An Amazon Review!

My paperback book is available at Amazon and some one has reviewed it. I am dumbfounded at how much that person enjoyed my novel. LuLu made the book available on Amazon, but for some reason the novel's cover art didn't get there too. I will send an email to my customer service guru and hopefully the issue will be solved quickly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Got books

Part of the wazzoo publishing help from LuLu is 100 copies of your paperback and 25 copies of your hardcovers. And that my friends is a lot of money in of itself. Do I think their services were worth it? Yes, totally. I have had such a great experience with this company. I hope some people actually buy the book, but I never expected it. If you are aiming for that millionth sale, don't go this way. But if you have a project you have worked hard on and would or need to feel like you've followed it to the end, then go with LuLu. And hit up family members for fundage, cuz they might surprise you.

I have to go the post office and mail out free books to everyone who helped me through this process. It would be great if people bought a book or two- my mom needs her money back.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Christmas in July for LuLu

I can't believe how often LuLu is sending out coupons. I think it is to make for, and compete with, major bookstores who have a monopoly and force us little people to charge so much for our books. Stick it to the man by buying an earth friendly, organic book from an author who wasn't corrupted by the machine!

Read Chapters 1 & 2 to see if it is a waste of your money to support a starving artist, and then buy my book at a publisher who will only kill trees when someone is actually buying the product.

Use coupon code SANTA305 at checkout and receive 20% off your order. Maximum savings with this comically early holiday promotion is $50. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. Sorry, but eBook purchases aren’t eligible. This great offer ends when Santa gets back from his vacation - on July 31, 2010 so don’t miss out! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coupon code

Use coupon code BEACHREAD305 at checkout and receive 15% off After Eventide. Maximum savings with this promotion is $10. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on August 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gremlins, like seriously

I got this email from LuLu this morning that says my book had problems when people tried to purchase it.

"The short of it is the gremlins got us. Fortunately, we found them - big, hairy devils with beady red eyes and the complexion of toad - and dispensed with them. (We'll spare you the details). Our systems are back to the Lulu standard and all books in our catalog now appear in our search results."

I am torn between loving the creativity and annoyance that people were having problems. But mostly I am tripp'n cuz I even have this problem. What a strange life this is. Hope you take a minute and read chapter 1.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why does it cost so much?

LuLu says- If you wanted your book to be available through other online stores - to go into 'distribution', in other words - all of those costs are doubled. You can reduce this by reducing your royalty, which is what most people wind up doing, which also reduces Lulu's commission and therefore the whole cost of the book.

The extra double costs goes to the retailers as their profit margin. Usually they reduce this so that your book may not actually sell at that full price - the retailers can offer 'special offers' etc simply by reducing their profit margin. You'll find some dealers in the Amazon marketplace do this quite quickly (while others seem to add outrageous amounts to the price of your book - they won't sell any, but hey, that's capitalism for you.) Your book on the online retailers will start to show a reduction in price that makes it more competitive, but you will always get your royalty, whatever price the book is sold at.

The cost may seem expensive, but don't forget that traditional publishers print books in hundreds and often thousands, which means the cost of manufacturing is reduced per book. Print on Demand is earth friendly which means higher costs.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Buy this story at LuLu.com

They had a problem at first with purchasing my book, but that was fixed like instantly. If you read Chapter 1 and want more, please buy my book. And LuLu is an earth friendly publisher, so the books are not printed until you buy it. Please forgive the extra time until you get it, it is really worth the wait.

And if you are thinking about self publishing, I do recommend LuLu!

Love ya Allison C.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The paperback is good

I got the proof copy of the paperback book and it is good. It can be purchased from LuLu, but will take 6-8 weeks for Amazon.com to offer it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not what I thought

Ok, so figuring out how to charge for a book is still controlled by the bookstores. So, get this. If I want to make $1.34 off of every paperback book sold in a book store then I have to sell my book for $18.65. Let me say that again. $1.34 per book for years of writing, a bazzilion edits, all of the cost with publishing. Damn good thing I absolutely love my own story.

Buying books from my online publisher, LuLu, will allow me to keep $6.39 per book and I am pretty sure that includes shipping costs.

Keep in mind that I am using an earth friendly publisher, so books are only printed when ordered, but that means a longer wait time for the buyer. It took 3 days for the printer to print and ship my proof copy. And another 3-4 days for the post office to deliver it.

I had to pay two different companies to make my book files eBook friendly. $199 to get quality iBook files & $100 to get Kindle friendly files. I thought I could do it myself cuz I am pretty savvvy with files. Um, no. Pay people.

Monday, July 12, 2010

in a modern age???

Ok, so everything is set. Physical books are on the way, right? Well, that depends on your definition of 'on the way'. The paperback books take 6-10 days to print and ship and the hardback books take 10-15 days to print and ship.

I think I might not make it. I really hate to feed the whole 'writers are far too over-dramatic' rumors, but holy cow! I would hate to live with me until then. AND the winds have shifted in the gulf of Mexico so the oil will be back on my clean white beaches in no time at all. I am going into my room and will write the sequel to After Eventide and I advise everyone to stay away. Oh, and I could really use a maid. My husband would appreciate that, seriously.

: ) : ( : ) :/

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Formatting is Set

I got the final formatting file. It still has errors, but I've been assured that the story is so good that readers will definitely still love the book. LuLu will print a copy with the cover art I chose and mail the actual book to me for final approval. This whole process has made me even more disgusted with the whole 'official' publishing system. I read an article telling authors that if they want to get published they need to write an absolutely amazing and entertaining story. Well, I have wasted a lot of my hard earned cash on crappy books in the hopes of finding these great novels.

Authors need to study their art before, during, and after writing their novel. I studied pre-19th century critics all the way through modern critics. I wanted to know what my reader needed and wanted, rather than what I wanted or needed. I learned this from teaching college English. It doesn't matter in the slightest what the teacher needs! This story is my attempt to entertain the reader who, like me, really enjoyed reading the Twilight book.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oh, the waiting : (

I approved the cover and now we just wait for those 35 errors to be fixed in the formatting. Once that is done, they will adjust the cover to fit the number of pages in the book, and then they will send me a hard copy to give my final approval on. OMG, I am dying to hold this thing in my hands!!!!

Anyone interested in free copy just send me an email address or a physical address. I only ask that you write up a review (good or bad), and let me use it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

OMG, 35 errors

Ok, so my book will totally look like an amateur did it. I found 35 additional errors! I keep telling myself that people love it and want to read it like bad because I feel totally inadequate. I may not be the best editor, but I am a good story teller. I am I tell you. No wait that is me I am arguing with.

This self publishing thing is hard, and anyone who has a wonderful editor should feel blessed!

I quit fixing it and said to go ahead with printing. Oh, and you get 10 free changes after the formatting (with the publishing package I bought with LuLu). After that you can purchase 5 error changes for $40 each. If the errors reach $650 they will change whatever and just call it a 're-edit'. I spent $200. It was worth it and, yes, I know NOT everything was fixed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sympathy for book covers

I received the first draft of the book cover and the artists are waaaayyy smarter than me. I now know that the book cover needs to draw a reader in rather than match the story - and here is the important part - AND have art that can be printed, reprinted, and altered. I need someone who is willing to sell away their rights to the picture, drawing, or whatever is on my cover giving me all rights to do with it as I please. There are websites like iStockPhoto and Fotolia that will sell you photos and the like giving you full rights to it. So not only do I need to make the cover represent my book, I have to get cool stuff too. I will post the cover as soon as I have finally approved it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Important Self Publishing Information

Ordering LuLu editorial services is no different than paying an actual editor except finding your own editor will allow you to know their names and you can check their credentials. With LuLu editors, you will NOT know who it is and you must trust that LuLu only hires great people.

And no matter how many mistakes they miss, you will not get another reading unless you pay again for the edit.

This is normal for normal publishing routes that simply get you in the door of an agent or a publisher, but then when a publisher decides to print your book it can take up to five different edits to get everything correct. You do not get this when you self publish. You will not have a copyeditor on staff to help with tiny details.

Self publishing with LuLu means you must be or find a good copy editor on your own! Even if you use the full service packages!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lov'n LuLu

LuLu said the editor would need three weeks to fix my manuscript, but it only took 2.5 weeks. I totally thought that might mean a crappy edit job, but the work this person did in such a short time is quality. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that I don't have to fight someone about what I am willing to change and what I won't change. I may not sell as many books as a conventional publisher might, but I have the power and it feels good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Waiting Sucks

It is monday morning, one month after I sent over $4,000 to LuLu to help me get my book ready to publish. I was sent an another email that iPads will go out this week and the editor is still working on my book. It takes so damn long to write the book, then a lifetime to edit the book, and then another agonizing lifetime to get it in shape for other humans to read it. Why, oh why, does anyone actually get through all of this? I can only imagine how long it took before computers. I feel entirely inadequate compared to anyone who published anything before 1975. Remember this next time you are mad about paying anything less than $40 for the next novel you read, please. I know I will.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Editor's Analysis

It took two weeks for LuLu to get the Editor's Analysis back to me. It is a report that recommends what level of detailed editing my book needs and how much it will cost. Since we paid for the full publishing package, which includes editor services, there was no additional charge. I had a few questions about copyright issues and they were answered very quickly and very thoroughly. So far, I am pleased with my plan to self publish. I just hope someday I get paid enough to make for the costs I am expending to make this all easy. I'll let you know if I end up feeling like it was worth it.