Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Da Numbers

Since we are three months into the year, I figured that I should be totally transparent with my sales and clue all you guys in on how my books are doing. They are progressive but I still want to get over a certain mark. If I can go over 500 copies for both paperback and ebook, I'll be happy. But, then again, I don't have many books out. But there will be more. I just have to get them out there. I'm going to be experimenting with different ways of promotion. Being a full-time writer is my ultimate goal and I want to see if I can get that publishing contract this year. Lord willing, it will happen.

Now that I think about it, the only avenue I haven't gone down is completing a book trailer. Book trailers can be a risky business. I've seen hundreds on youtube. Very few drew me into the book. Many of them are title cards, made in windows movie maker, with four still pictures and about one minute of mood music, but I want to go beyond that. I want them to actually look like movie trailers. Some have a strong opinion about that, saying that if you cast actors and film scenes that that will be misleading your audience. I say casting actors YOU, as an author, know fit the part and filming the scenes YOU envisioned in your head is more engaging. A perfect example would be the recent book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. After seeing that trailer, I was sold on getting this book by any means necessary. After all, you created this world in the book, so why not give people a glimpse of what that world looks like. Over the next few months, when I have time of course, I'll be filming snippets here and there for the book trailer of For What It's Worth. I've had the storyboard sheets stashed in my desk for the longest time. Hell, I may even go one step beyond and show you some behind the scenes.

For now, here are the total amount of books I have sold -

Mr. Dead Eyes -
Total Ebook Sales: 28 ebooks

For What It's Worth -
Total Ebook Sales: 123 ebooks
Total Paperback Sales: 21 books

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday Tells it Slant

Recently, I've had the privilege of reading another self-published author. Her name is Holly Christine. From what I can see, she does not get blocked. She came out with three titles in the past two years. Her titles include The Nine Lives of Clemenza, which is a journey of one soul through nine lives, Retail Ready, a chronicle of one hellish work week at a bank, and finally Tuesday Tells it Slant. It's a very interesting story involving journal entries of the main character. It brings a lot of realism to the character and, quite honestly, I felt a little guilty reading it at times because I felt that I was invading someone's privacy. It has it's laughs as well as its dramas and all are appropriately placed. There's one scene, one of my favorites where Tuesday, the main character, is having a really bad day with an alarm clock. I won't give too much away. I'll just let Holly Christine tell you about the book herself.

Take it away, Holly:

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to tell stories. I always amped up tales from school a bit. Okay, quite a bit. A student walked into my class when I was six with a broken arm and I had never seen anyone in such a state. My teacher simply stated that so and so broke his arm, but I needed to know how. Where did he go to get such a thing on his arm? The conversation would take place at home after I had crafted the story. A car hit him, because everyone knows that you can’t cross the road without an adult, and he got the cast in the hospital. It made perfect sense in my six-year-old head.

The writing process for me is exceedingly disheveled and alarming. I start with an idea. For Tuesday Tells it Slant that idea was a girl rewriting her history. I let the idea fester until the right narrative voice reveals itself and then I stock up on coffee and write until my fingers refuse to go back to the keyboard.

Some writers outline before. I outline in reverse. Once I get to a point where I know the story has to wrap up, I print (in all its complexity) and outline the plot, emotions and tensions that I have created up to that point. This helps with the ending and ensures that I don’t leave any loose threads dangling from the sweater that I just spent days/months creating.

With Tuesday Tells it Slant, I was dealing with the creation of old diary entries, which was a task in itself. I had to revert back to my own diaries that I had kept throughout my life to mimic the diary of an eight year old and show her growth both through narration and journaling. I learned a great deal about myself during this process. I was a bit of a gossip queen and incredibly boy crazy.

In all, TTiS is much more commercial than anything I have written and published so far and really speaks to my generation: changing careers, unsure of a path in life and technologically social. It’s available in paperback and for Kindle now at Amazon.

For those interested in writing, the best advice I can offer is to write. Write daily and join a local writers group. If you can’t find one, start your own! The library is a great place to meet like-minded people.

Thank you for the opportunity and happy writings!

~Holly Christine

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Self-Publishing Success

If there is a key to self-publishing success, I think it would be hand selling your copies. Think about this for a minute. People are more likely to remember you and your book if they met you, shook your hand, talked to you for a little bit. Then, if something should come of your work and you happen to be picked up by a publisher, they are able to look their friends in the eye and say, "Hey! I met that person. They gave me one of their first copies. Signed it too."

While I am not a strong fan of James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy, I am impressed with his go-getter attitude. He started hand selling his book out of the trunk of his car.

Below is a video of how his writing career took off.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

On Writing Persistently

Ray Bradbury is known for his best works: The Mutant Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451.

I've only read about 20 pages into Fahrenheit but I remember I was absolutely transported into a different world. I love the way this man writes. He's even written a book about writing called The Zen of Writing. Digging deeper, I found that Ray Bradbury is a man who has never stopped writing.

From Wikipedia:
He attributes his lifelong habit of writing every day to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!" It was from then that Bradbury wanted to live forever and decided his career as an author in order to do what he was told: live forever. It was at that age that Bradbury first started to do magic. Magic was his first great love. If he had not discovered writing, he would have become a magician.

The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as his father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, but eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Ray was thirteen.

Bradbury graduated from the Los Angeles High School in 1938 but did not attend college. Instead, he sold newspapers at the corner of South Norton Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. In regard to his education, Bradbury said:

"Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."

Below is a video, just to give you an idea of how this man works. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Goodreads Giveaway

About a month ago, I decided to give away 15 free copies of my new book For What It's Worth. I first learned of this whole giveaway thing by way of another blog. This guy Todd Newton over at Initial Draft was giving away copies of his fantasy epic The Ninth Avatar. Never found out how it all turned out but just for curiosity sake, I decided to give it a try. As an independent author, you have to learn to give away a lot of copies in order to promote yourself. Some give away thousands of free books.

I set the giveaway for a month and now the time is up.

The giveaway was a great success.

654 people entered.

34 people have already put it on their to-read list.

What these 15 lucky people don't know is that they will be getting a special treat that comes with the book.

For any of you first time authors out there thinking of promoting your work, I strongly suggest that you set up a goodreads author profile, connect with your readers and start giving away free books. It's a win-win situation. I'm definitely thinking of doing this again when my next book comes out. But by that time I might be giving away 25 to 30 copies. We'll see. Thanks to all those who participated in this contest.