Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lessons Learned from a Best Selling Self-Published Author

Filed under: Author Tips,Self-Publishing,Video — Larry James @ 10:30 am

Pat Flynn, Guest Author

If you feel like you’ve got a book in you — and I believe almost everyone does — this episode is for you. I’ll share all those surprising moments, unexpected challenges, successes, and lessons learned from writing “Will It Fly?.”

Copyright © 2016 – Pat Flynn.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

commentNOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Pinterest page for authors and speakers at: https://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Sunday, August 2, 2015

5 Rarely Discussed Self-Publishing Mistakes!

J.J. Hebert, Guest Author

1. Don’t self-publish your first draft: If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a self-published author banging his head on his desk. It happens every few seconds. Listen very, very carefully. There’s another bang. He thought the book was genius when he clicked publish and he had even “spell-checked” the manuscript beforehand, but now the Amazon reviewers are saying some really nasty things about his book.

A&S-MistakesThings like, “I couldn’t get past the first chapter because of all the errors” and “This was obviously self-published…” Don’t be that guy. Fine-tune your manuscript by going through at least one round of revisions and self-editing and then hire a professional editor to bring a different perspective to the project. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: The first draft of anything is crap. Don’t publish crap.

2. Don’t overprice your book: I’m really surprised that more authors aren’t discussing this. I’ve seen multitudes of authors trying to sell their books at exorbitant prices. You need to think as the consumer. Why would a customer pay $30 for your paperback book instead of $12.99 for a NY Times bestseller? Or $9.99 for your ebook instead of $6.99 for Stephen King? They probably won’t! Try enticing the customer with a competitive (or discounted) price and watch what happens.

3. Don’t count on sales at brick-and-mortar bookstores: It’s true that many indie bookstores will happily stock your self-published print book. Some of them will work out consignment deals with you. From my experience, they’ll want around 40%. Major chains will want at least 50% and you’ll generally need to go through layers of bureaucracy in order to get your book stocked.

You’ll also need to take the risk of making your book “returnable.” As you can imagine, this could get ugly very quickly. For those reasons and many others, I advise self-publishing authors to focus primarily on online sales. Your profit margins will increase and you’ll be able to cover a ton of ground much more quickly.

4. Don’t think that just having an online presence is enough: “I’m on Facebook,” says almost every self-published author. “I’m on Twitter. I’m on Pinterest. I have a blog. I have a website…” This is all very nice, but it’s not enough to simply have an online presence. You need to be active on all of your platforms. In other words, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Treat your online presence as you would your own home. Care for it, live in it, and love it.

mistakes5. Don’t expect that strangers will automatically care about your book: I have to admit that when I first started self-publishing, I thought everyone needed my book. Everyone. My inspirational book could motivate and change lives. I knew it. But no one cared at first (aside from friends and family, of course). I had to make them care. I accomplished this by – wait for it – networking! I created Facebook groups (and even Myspace groups; remember Myspace?).

I befriended book lovers on Facebook. I reached out to fellow writers by email and met them in person at signings and other events. Most importantly, I made good impressions on those people and most of them supported me by helping spread the word. I know this isn’t fun or sexy advice. Many self-publishing authors looking for advice don’t want to hear that this ride could be a long one. Throw away the idea of “quick and easy” and focus on building relationships!

BONUS Article: 75 Book Marketing Tips for Authors
Why Self-Promotion is Critical to Your Success
6 Reasons You Should Self-Publish
Self-Publishing: Someone Who Succeeded
Don’t Buy Into the Hype That Self-Published Authors Are Not REAL Authors

Copyright 2015 by J.J. Hebert. J.J. Hebert is the author of two self-published MindStir Media/Amazon.com bestselling books, with over 100,000 copies sold worldwide. He is the President & CEO of MindStir Media, a top self-publishing company seen on Lifetime, Fox Business, History Channel, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Biography Channel, Bravo and Ovation TV. He has helped produce hundreds of books for authors nationwide and has provided thousands of publishing consultations. Schedule a free publishing consultation with J.J. Hebert right now.The Good Men Project called him the “Self-Publishing Guru.” Visit him on Facebook.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

commentNOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Pinterest page for authors and speakers at: https://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

6 Reasons You Should Self-Publish

Tiana Warner, Guest Author

I was talking with a writer friend recently, and we got into a discussion on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. She’s been querying agents like crazy. I’ve been doing self-publishing prep like crazy. She was surprised to find out I didn’t even bother trying to get an agent or traditional publishing contract.

Why would I do such a thing? Why would I not even try to get a publisher?

A&Sself-publishingI’ve done a lot of research on the matter, and while both approaches have advantages, I decided self-publishing was a better option for me. Let’s talk about why.

Follow your own timeline

The traditional publishing timeline takes a zen-like level of patience. Realistically, you’re looking at a few months of querying agents, revising your query letter, and querying some more. Once you’ve acquired an agent, she then has to find you a publisher, which takes even more time and patience. Upon acceptance, the timeline for a publishing house is often one, two, or even three years. After all this, you’re not even guaranteed to have a book deal.

Even Queen Rowling got rejected about a dozen times before finally getting published. Life’s too short for that, and what’s “hot” in the book market evolves too quickly. Self-publishing gets your book out there as soon as you want. While I wouldn’t recommend publishing your book the day after you’re done your second draft, it’s motivating to know you can see it in print a few months after completion.

Control your story and platform

When you get picked up by a publishing house, you’re signing over the rights to your book. It’s quite possible that their editor will make you change stuff you don’t want to change—including the title. When you hire your own editor, you have the freedom to decide where to draw the line. It is still your book.

Personally, I like being able to choose the cover of my book, and the price, and where it’s distributed. What if the publishing house gives me a horrendous cover or a $34.00 hardcover copy? What if they want to price my eBook at $15.00? Unfortunately this happens all the time.

Higher royalties

CreateSpace takes about 40% when you sell a paperback. Publishing houses usually take at least 85%, and your agent gets a chunk of what’s left (usually about 15%). There are other means of payment, like advances and flat rates, but in summary, you’re left with about enough to pay rent on the cardboard box you’ll have to live in.

Sure, if you sell a million copies that makes $40,000, but I’d rather sell a million copies at 60% royalty, thankyouverymuch.

The time is right

We’re in an age where self-published books have a better chance than ever of making it big. Print-On-Demand services and free eBook distribution are abound. One in three ebooks sold on Amazon are self-published. You don’t even need to be in a bookstore to be successful.

People don’t care how a book is published, as long as the book is good. If it’s going to explode, it’ll explode, whether or not it’s traditionally published.

Either way, marketing is up to you

Publishing house or not, you’re still responsible for marketing your own work. Yes, sometimes a publishing house helps out with PR and reviews, but it really varies. These days, you’ll likely need to create a marketing plan anyway if you want to impress a publisher enough for them to pick you up.

For me, the chance that a publishing house might help me promote myself is not enough to make me want to forgo the above advantages.

You believe in yourself

Ok, let me get all self-helpy for a minute. Write this on an index card: “I am a bestselling author.” Put it on your fridge. Look at it every day. If you believe wholeheartedly you can achieve something, then it absolutely will happen. I promise.

You’re an organized, driven person who has just written an entire book. You can absolutely put in the work and follow the steps required to publish it. You know there are infinite resources on self-publishing and marketing waiting for you on the web. You have every reason to be confident that you can self-publish your book, without giving up control, royalties, time, and that scene you love so much.

50 Shades was self-published. If 50 Shades can do it, then for the love of all that is holy, you can do it.

Bottom line?

Here’s the thing. No matter what the medium, you need to do research to figure out how to market your book as best as possible. The more you get exposure and reviews, the more you do giveaways and networking and interviews, the better your chances of selling a lot of copies.

Self-publishing does cost more money up front. You’ll need to pay for your own editor, for cover design, and other miscellaneous fees. But if writing truly is your passion then this shouldn’t matter. Hobbies cost money. Startup businesses cost money. Writing is a hobby and a business. Personally, I don’t mind spending money on something I love this much. It’s like an investment in myself, and in the plan that soon I’ll make it back.

To be clear, I’m not against traditional publishing. Books are sexy and I think both approaches win. In fact, maybe a “hybrid” approach is best.

What do you think? What’s your take on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? Tell us in the comments.

Copyright © 2014 – Tiana Warner. Tiana Warner is a YA fantasy author from British Columbia, Canada. Check out her upcoming novel, Ice Massacre. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups. She would love to connect with you on Twitter—find her @tianawarner.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry on Pintrest at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Monday, November 3, 2014

Self-Publishing: Someone Who Succeeded

Cal Orey, Guest Author

NOTE: Veteran author and journalist Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, CA interviewed Author and Speaker Larry James for the article, “Self-Publishing: Six Who Succeeded, You Can Too!” an abridged version of the following interview. The following is an extended version of the original interview.

Meet Larry James, a talkative former Realtor® and present-day Professional Speaker and Wedding Officiant who performs about 70 to 75 wedding ceremonies a year. In 1991, a friend (Larry Winget) challenged him to stop talking about writing a book and just do it.

LJinterviewOne year later, his first self-published book, “The First Book of Life Skills,” was released. (NOTE: The title of this book was changed in 2009 to, “Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections” and is available in 11 countries). Since then, he has written three books about personal relationships. Today, James, of Scottsdale, AZ, loves his profession as a self-published author, along with being a speaker, a relationship coach and non-denominational Wedding Officiant.

NOTE: The original questions asked by Cal Orey and answered by Larry James follow.

What city and state are you from? – Born in Topeka, Kansas

City and state you live in now? Do you like it? – Scottsdale, AZ – I absolutely love it!

What is (or was) your real job? – My “real” job is a professional speaker (since 1987), author and relationship coach. I am also an ordained non-denominational Wedding Officiant and perform about 70 to 75 wedding ceremonies each year.

Have you always dreamed of being a writer? – Not really. When I was in high school, I wrote poetry and articles for the newspaper. Writing was something I did for fun and to get attention. I didn’t seriously begin to think about writing until I became very successful in the real estate business. My first published article was for the National Association of Realtors monthly magazine, “Real Estate Today” in 1972. An article about “Listening” was published in “Elite” Magazine in Tulsa in about 1989.

In 1991, my friend, Larry Winget brought his Mac Classic to our office, and said, “You’ve been talking about writing a book for about a year, now, what’s your excuse?” I wrote the first chapter that night for “The First Book of Life Skills.” It was my first self-published book about a year later.

Since then, I’ve written 3 relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With,” “LoveNotes for Lovers; Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing,” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” I have articles menus on three of my four Websites with numerous articles I have written and many of them have been reprinted on other Websites.

Is it your dream to write as a profession? – It is now my profession, along with being a professional speaker and relationship coach. I also coach authors and speakers.

How long have you been writing? – Off and on since I was 16 years old. I’ve also written lyrics and music for several songs. Several poems that are relationship related appear in the articles menu on http://www.CelebrateLove.com/articles.htm

What are your favorite hobbies? – I enjoy reading non-fiction books. I also receive a constant flow of review books from other authors and frequently write endorsements and an occasional foreword (2 so far) as part of my ongoing self-promotional efforts. As of this date I’ve written more than 120 endorsements for other books, many of which appear on Amazon.com and my own Websites.

I also enjoy water gardening. I built a heart-shaped water garden, complete with waterfall, stream, water lilies and goldfish. It is the centerpiece of my backyard. It is often the site of small intimate wedding ceremonies. Phoenix channels 5 and 10 have featured our water garden on TV, usually around Valentines Day.

I love jazz! Nearly all of my books were written with the sound of jazz in the background. I frequently attend jazz concerts.

What was your particular goal with self-publishing? – To be able to be in control of the entire publishing process, from printing to getting the books in the bookstores, including promotion. And once I achieved a reasonable success in book sales, to actively look for a publisher who would be assured that when they published my books, I could be counted on to aggressively continue to promote them. I have two more relationship books waiting to be written.

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Larry James @ work!

What type of company did you use and why? – I started my own publishing company, Career Assurance Press, in 1992. I looked for book cover designers, printers, inside designers, editors, etc., that were reasonable and offered excellent quality and excellent customer service.

Cover Design – http://www.JimWeems.com/ and http://www.Lightbourne.com

Printers – http://www.CentralPlainsBook.com and http://www.Patterson-Printing.com

Interior Design – Sue Knopf Graffolio
1528 Mississippi Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
608 784-8064

All of my resources are highly recommended and appear on my resource page at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com/resources.html

How did you reach your intended audience? – I was in radio broadcasting for 12 years, so my best promotion has been on radio talk shows (resource: Radio Station Checklist and How to Be a Great Radio Guest!) once the books were in the book stores. I’ve appeared on more than 650 radio talk shows and numerous TV shows, including ABC TV’s “The View” with Barbara Walters and other TV stations. I also offer excerpts from my books as articles to magazines (was in Cosmo twice, Redbook, Insight, Woman’s Day, The Writer, Modern Bride, Arizona Brides and others) and on the Internet. There are nearly 2900 other Websites linked to CelebrateLove.com. I also have 4 other Websites that promote my books, seminars and coaching (total of nearly 3000 Internet pages).

As a professional speaker, I present relationship seminars nationwide. I frequently sell books to 30 to 45 percent of the audience after a presentation.

My friends in the National Speakers Association call me a shameless self-promoter. I proudly wear that label because I do it with finesse. I have been speaking professionally since 1987 and, as part of my business I coach new speakers and authors. My techniques for self-promotion are unique and get rave reviews from my clients. I put up a special Website especially for authors and speaker in April 2004 (www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com) to help others be more efficient. In October 2009 my Authors and Speaker Network Blog went live. I post something about writing and speaking every 8th day. (http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com/author-speaker-article-index/)

I was the Associate Producer for the MarsVenus Radio Talk Show for five years. Part of the intention of taking on this contract work was to negotiate several radio commercials about my own relationship books and Website during the show. I often appeared as a relationship guest with the co-host (Michael Najarian) when Dr. Gray was not on the show. I accepted Dr. Gray’s offer to host the MarsVenus Chat Room on America Online for three years for the national and international exposure it gave me for my relationship work.

Describe your self-publishing success? – I have independently published 4 non-fiction books. Total sales: about 250,500 to date. Most success came from self-promotion and by attracting a great book distributor, Midpoint Trade Books, New York. I now have a publisher, Robert Reed Publishing.

What did you learn about self-publishing from your experience? – Promote! Promote! Promote! Never stop promoting. You cannot be shy as an author and expect your books to sell. I learned that if I really believed in the relationship work I was writing about in my 3 books, I had to take complete responsibility for becoming a shameless self-promoter – with finesse – to let the world know the books were available.

free-ebookFind a mentor or coach. Emulate what the successful authors are doing and do that! Tom Hopkins (The Official Guide to Success), Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul) (NOTE: Larry wrote a story to honor the memory of my mother in this book on page 16) and Greg Godek (1000 Ways to Be Romantic) are friends and have offered priceless coaching. It works for me.

Larry’s NOTE: Authors and speakers can get a complimentary eBOOK Download of: “How to Book Radio Shows and Be a Great Guest!” by paying for it with a Tweet. More info here!

BONUS Articles: The Buzz on Being a Shameless NetShaker!
Self-Promote or Disappear!
How to Be a Great Radio Guest!
Radio Station Checklist: “Stuff” You NEED to Know & Do BEFORE You Go on the Air!

CalOreyCopyright © 2014 – Cal Orey. – Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the February, 2005 issue of The Writer Magazine. Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, California, is a contributing editor of Complete Woman and has written hundreds of articles for magazines and Websites. She is the author of Doctor’s Orders: What 101 Doctors Do to Stay Healthy & 202 Pets’ Peeves: Cats and Dogs Speak Out on Pesky Human Behavior and others.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why Care About the Business of Publishing?

Filed under: Author Tips,Self-Publishing — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Jerry D. Simmons, Guest Author

Part 1 of 2

Writing is difficult. After spending enormous amounts of time perfecting your craft, do you really want to know that there is another important part to becoming a published author? The answer is an unequivocal, YES! If your goal is to become a published author then here are some serious questions that you need to consider.

WHYpublishingWhy should you care about the business of publishing? The simple answer is that you want a career as a writer. Your dream is to become the next Nora Roberts, or JK Rowling. Of course, at this point you’re not sure why knowing the business is relevant to your new superstar status, but after you’ve read both parts of this article you should begin to understand why you need to care about and understand the basics of the business of publishing and how it relates to your career as a writer.

There was a son of a famous politician that was published too much fanfare. He knew little about the business and even less about what goes on behind the scenes. After all, he had a famous last name. His career as an author went south fast. Why? He didn’t understand the business and his name and writing could only carry him so far. If he’d taken the time to learn the basics of the business, his name and writing could have carried him much farther and he might even have made a career out of writing.

What are your goals as a writer? This is not a philosophical question, but one that deserves an answer. As with most writers, your goal should be to get your work published, whether it’s with a major trade publisher, small publisher or you decide to self publish. You want your book to have a chance of getting placement in all the major bookstores and a shot at making some bestseller lists around the country, not to mention being an Oprah pick of the month or having your face on the cover of PEOPLE magazine.

There is a wonderful lady who lives in Iowa that has been a published author for over thirty years. During each publication of her books, she took the time to communicate to her sales representatives, thanking them for their work and how much she appreciated their support. Her sales were only so-so, but the company had faith she would eventually find her readership. Instead of giving up on her, the sales group rallied and did everything they could to help her sales. Eventually, after more than twenty-five years, she became successful and the financial reward she had always hoped for came to be. She reached her goal.

Are you doing everything you can to improve your chances of being a published author? If you’re a member of a writer’s critique group or writer’s group, that’s an excellent start. If you’ve attended or plan to attend in the near future a writing class or writing seminar at a local community college or university, that would be highly recommended. If you don’t read books by authors in the genre you’re writing or plan to write in, you should start. If you don’t regularly visit a local bookstore and pay attention to the market and what is happening, you should begin as soon as possible.

You need the support of other writers. Authors that I have toured with appreciate the feedback they receive from other writers. This is, of course, a very select fraternity of established and recognizable authors that critique and support each other. The same is true for you as a writer with the goal of getting your manuscript published. Seek the support and critique of your colleagues.

What do you need to know to be successful as a published author? Not only do you need to know how to write, but you must also understand what is happening in the publishing industry, especially behind the scenes of the major trade publishers. Until now, that information wasn’t readily or easily available. However, with the launch of my Website, www.WritersReaders.com, not only can the information be accessed easily, it’s FREE. For a broader coverage of the business of publishing, let me suggest that you read my book. However, the basic information is FREE.

How should you allocate your time to become a successfully published author? Obviously you need to write, and write, and write some more. The best way to improve your writing is to write, so you must spend a large chunk of your available time writing. If you attend critique or group meetings where you can have a support system that would be time well spent. Classes, workshops and seminars on writing are also a good investment in time. A portion of your time should be spent visiting bookstores, reading books written by your competition, and most importantly, visiting my web site to get the inside information on the business of publishing.

Are you doing everything you need to do to put yourself in a position to make writing your career? If you’re doing everything that I’ve written about up to this point, then you’re doing as much as can be expected. If you avoid visiting bookstores, reading books written by your competition, or don’t take the time to read articles about the business, then you’re not doing everything you need to do. A basic understanding of the business of publishing is essential to your career as a writer and successful author.

Writers and authors need to become some of the most marketing savvy people in the business. They should read anything and everything in their own category including what’s on the current bestseller lists. They need to be voracious readers and keen observes of the marketplace and their category.

If someone told you that you are doing all the right things to eventually get a book published but your career may only be good for one book, would you still be interested in a career as a writer? No one wants to be a one-book author. Why would you spend the time and energy, not to mention money, to have only one book published? Spending all your time perfecting your writing skills and not spending a portion of that time learning the basics of the business of publishing is tantamount to being a one-book author.

So what’s the fun of learning the basics of the business of publishing? The fun of writing and challenge of becoming a published author could end abruptly if you make a bad decision or relinquish your decision making to the publisher. That is why in order for all your hard work to pay off handsomely, you need to learn what’s happening to your book from the day you sign the contract to the day it goes on sales.

If your goal were to someday get your book published, why would you even consider signing a contract with a publisher without understanding what they do, why they do it, and how they do it? The only conceivable answer is that you, as a writer, consider the publishers to be the experts. Of course that is correct, they do have the expertise, but they don’t have the time or resources to devote to your individual book. That’s why the more you understand about the business the better chance you have of making writing a career, avoiding the one-book syndrome, and eventually making your publisher your partner in the publication process of your book.

Read “Part Two” of this article ~ click here!

JerrySimmonsCopyright © 2014 – Jerry D. Simmons. Jerry D. Simmons spent more than twenty years as an executive with The Time Warner Book Group in New York. He is the author of “INSIDE The Business of Publishing: What Writers Need to Know” and the creator of www.WritersReaders.com, where information essential to writers and their careers is available, FREE.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don’t Buy Into the Hype That Self-Published Authors Are Not REAL Authors

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Self-Publishing — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Laura Orsini, Guest Author

I just read on another “writing coach’s” Facebook page that “Self-Publishing Will Kill Your Reputation as a Quality Author.” She’s trying to make a clear distinction between self-published authors who use vanity presses and true independently published authors, but all she does is conjure up the same old “self-publishing has a stigma” line from years ago.

selfpub“Self-publishing.” A term often confused, skewed by greedy vanity publishing companies, and a stigma to the entire publishing industry. What do you think when you hear, “I am self-published?”

• That author wasn’t good enough to get a ‘real’ publisher.
• Their book probably wasn’t edited.
• Their cover design is horrible.
• They just wanted a quick fix, an easy road to get their book out.

This is only a smidgen of the stigma true independent publishers have to fight from those in the “self-publishing” industry. The fact is, any company you pay to publish your book, who pays you royalties, or who puts their logo on the back of your book – any company that handles the distribution of your book for you that is not a real book distributor – is not a self-publishing company. They are vanity, plain and simple.

The fact is, the publishing business is changing, and many “BIG NAME” authors are now choosing the self-publishing route.

Just to make sure I wasn’t crazy — and that the many articles I’ve been reading over the last six months to a year support this position, I did a quick Google search for “perspectives on self publishing.” The FIRST article that comes up is about Alissa Valdes-Rodriguez, who walked away from St. Martin’s Press to self-publish. That’s the term they use, “self-publish” – not “independently publish.” Her comments are telling:

Self-publishing, you see, gives me control. And if I’m not in control, God only knows what will happen. My work might end up shelved under “foreign” in my own country again, or the press release might once more call it “spicy” and me “a hot tamale.” I might, again, get booked to read at a store in Arizona, only to have the manager ask me if I speak English – my native and only tongue. Shudder.

And I recently posted an on my Facebook fan page a link to a conversation between authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath about this very subject… the primary focus of which is that Eisler walked away from a 6-figure agreement in favor of “self-publishing.”

Here’s the thing: this other coach is not wrong about vanity presses. They’re low-budget, and working with them can give you a black eye in the literary world. But she does all of her readers a grave disservice by dismissing the facts that:

a. The publishing industry is changing – anyone recall a little chain called Borders recently going under?

b. Self-publishing (aka indpendent publishing) does not carry nearly the stigma today that it did 10 or 15 years ago.

c. As many OR MORE opportunities exist for savvy self-publishing authors than for those tied to traditional publishing houses today.

d. High-quality self-published books are being released every day.

This “coach” would have done her readers/clients much more good by discussing the things one needs to do to make sure their self-published book is well received, such as:

samplecovers• Hire the best editor you can afford.
• Hire a professional book designer to create your cover and interior layout.
• Have your book professionally typeset.
• Make sure your book has a table of contents and index, if appropriate.
• Get an ISBN and LCCN.
• Register your book with the US Copyright office.
• Make sure you create a “publishing company” that does not have the author’s name/initials in it.
• Create a logo for said publishing company, and include it on the spine, the back, and the copyright page of the book.

A whole bevvy of new self-publishing authors would likely skip one or more of those steps, and thus run the risk of being decried “not good enough to get a ‘real’ publisher.” Those are the clients I love to work with. In fact, I recently helped two self-published (aka indpendently published) authors complete their books. Can you tell, by looking at the covers at the right?

Whatever you do, ignore the shouts that “self-publishing will kill your reputation as a quality author.”

NOTE: Bill Greaves at Concept West did the covers for both “Find Fulfill Flourish” and “Gabriel’s Angels.”

Larry’s Note: My first book was self-published in 1995. I have self-published 3 others since then. My next step was to find a distributor who would help get my books in the big chain stores. After I had had great success with the first 4 books (about 225,000 sold), a publisher became interested and published my 5th book. That was my strategy all along. 😉

BONUS ARTICLE: How to Distribute Your Self-Published Book Offline

LauraOrsiniCopyright © 2012 – Laura Orsini. Laura Orsini is an editorial, design, and marketing consultant who supports authors, speakers, and coaches who want to change the world. She works primarily with self-publishing authors – and all who have a passion and mission to get their message out into the world – and specializes in teaching them to think like marketers. Visit Laura’s Website, Blog and click “like” on Laura’s Facebook page!

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

commentNOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Myth of Self-Publishing

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Self-Publishing — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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Adrian Zackheim, Guest Author

In today’s brave new world of book publishing, the news is full of stories about writers who jumped from anonymity to the bestseller lists via clever blog posts, assiduous social media networking, and the support of a celebrity tweet or two. We’re encouraged to believe that having a publisher is now optional for reaching broad popular attention. That any self respecting writer with a clear voice and a fresh idea can do it all herself, if she so chooses.

blankpageSome proponents of self-publishing (J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, John Locke, et al) go even further — they think having a traditional publisher is not merely optional but foolish. Why should a gifted writer share the proceeds of her success with an intermediary if she can attract a flood of readers without one?

This line of reasoning makes no sense to me. Yes, self-publishing and ebook-only publishing are enticing new avenues for aspiring writers. But self-publishing is not an easy road. As a recent New York Times article attests, “there are often hidden fees.” It’s expensive to self-publish. Incredibly time consuming. And the results can be meager. The author who was the focus of the Times article had sold 700 copies of her novel after months of hard work.

getPublishedDespite the hype, the fundamental rules of publishing have not really changed very much. Now, as before, the greatest challenge facing a new writer is to find readers, not to finish and print a book. If anything, self-publishing has made the shelves, both virtual and physical, even more crowded. The obstacles to being noticed are even more forbidding, not less. In a world where anyone can upload a Word doc and call it a book, it’s more valuable than ever to have experts curate the works that are really worthy of a reader’s attention.

But even more important, good publishers add immeasurable value precisely because they have hard-won experience in all those aspects of the process that writers are not experts in. These arts — editing, positioning, packaging, and marketing — are as essential as they ever were. Freelance editors, publicists, and other service providers are available to provide such services, but few writers know how to choose and manage those hired guns. Even fewer possess the mix of discipline, public credibility, and book marketing savvy it takes to devise their own titles, cover art and marketing plans.

WomantypingAnd let’s not forget that the explosive rise of e-books and online retail hasn’t eliminated the crucial impact of distribution and merchandising of printed books in stores — an area in which traditional publishers have an overwhelming advantage.

Some gurus of self-publishing suggest that trying to start word-of-mouth by focusing on friends and acquaintances is a new tactic. Actually, writers have done that from time immemorial. The difference is that now we call a writer’s core audience his “platform” or “tribe” and the Web makes it easier than ever to build one. Which is great news for every author, from the famous to the unknown. But surely the vast majority of promising writers who aspire to reach the wider world are better off with the help, nurturance, advice and financial backing of a prominent publisher. Writers who fall for the myth of self-publishing are likely to end up relegated to the periphery of the book world.

My advice to aspiring writers is to pursue the traditional path of agents and publishers to the best of your ability. If you fail to get traction that way, you can certainly try self-publishing as a way to attract attention and build your platform. But a good mainstream publisher is still the best way to reach the biggest possible audience via professional editing and marketing support — and to get paid an advance for your work, which the self-publishing gurus tend to conveniently ignore or disparage.

Of course there are rare exceptions — like self-publishing superstar Amanda Hocking — and those anecdotal triumphs draw a ton of media attention. But someone always wins the lottery too. Why take that risk and sell yourself short if you don’t have to? Besides, Hocking herself has now signed with a traditional publisher for her future novels, as the best way to build on her early success.

adrian_zackheim Copyright 2011 by Adrian Zackheim. Adrian Zackheim, President and Publisher of Portfolio, began his career in publishing at G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the School and Library Publicity and Promotion Department in 1975. Since then he has held editorial positions at St. Martin’s Press, Doubleday, William Morrow and Company, and most recently was Publisher of HarperBusiness. He came to Penguin Group in 2001 to found Portfolio.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

commentNOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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