Recently, my husband said I should get a new Kindle Fire, the one with the larger screen and the capability to be online anywhere with a reasonable distance to a cell tower. I knew phones could do that, of course, but I didn’t know a tablet could, so in a few days I held one in my hand. The 4G Kindle Fire takes a little time to get used to, at least for me, but once I have it figured out I should be able to do just about anything with it.
At work, I looked for some vocabulary curriculum that I could use with my high school students, and came across a reading comprehension sheet from Read Theory, LLC. The paper didn’t have a title or a mention of the author who wrote it, but it was about books becoming relics, and how e-readers are superior. Obviously it was a persuasion essay, and I’m not here to tell you to throw away your books. I will always love an actual book I can hold in my hand, too.
I have heard several of the author’s arguments before, but one thing really opened my eyes. E-books are environmentally friendly. Of course they are, I have no argument with that. Further he/she stated how many trees it took to print a book.
80,000 pieces of paper in a tree.
If your book is 300 pages long, printed 1000 times, it will take 4 trees.
If your book is a bestseller, selling 20,000 copies a week, it will take over 300 trees per month.
If you are J.K Rowling, with the Harry Potter series, you have sold 450 million copies and have used 2 million trees to print your books.
So, here is another reason to buy E-books. I, personally, love trees and am rethinking the value of a book held in my hand.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Tell me what you want. If you are a reader, you can have rack cards as a book mark for your keepers, and I’ll send you postcards along with them. If you have a bookstore or a readers’ group and would like multiple postcards or rack cards, just tell me.
2. If you want the card(s) signed, please tell me who they should be signed for.
3. Tell me where to send them. I need a complete snail-mail mailing address.
You can send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you email me and don’t get a reply in 48 hours, then the spam filters ate it. Please try again.
The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1588.
George Gower. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, UK. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizface3.htm
About once a year I try to sit down and read a writing reference book. This year I picked, The First Fifty Pages by Jeff Gerke since I have the hardest time putting together the first part of a manuscript, but once I get through this section my characters come alive and I sail through the rest of the story. Below I share some of Gerke’s thoughts.
During the Renaissance period a person’s portrait included items that conveyed much about his interests, background and life. For example, look at the picture above of Queen Elizabeth I. See the globe, and her hand resting upon it? Perhaps she wants to rule other countries besides England. Is she pointing at a particular land that she wants to have? Why does her crown sit beside her and not on her head? Look out the window on the left. Looks like the queen is in favor of a large navy or, perhaps it symbolizes her power. What’s out the right window? I’m thinking maybe it symbolizes the fate her opponents faced in battle. Your guesses are probably as good as mine.
I started to think about myself. What would be a representation of me? A typewriter or computer, a cat, my books, a teacher’s bell, something like a rosary to symbolize my faith in a higher power, a picture of my family on the table and a pecan mud slide from Diary Queen. My setting would probably be in a forest, or at least be out of one of the windows. Think about all the things that make you who you are and put them in your picture (at least mentally).
If your hero had a portrait done such as this, how would he want to appear? How about your heroine? What would be the setting? What will he/she wear? What would be in his hands? On the table? Out the window? If you know your hero in his essence you can figure out how to display it.
Further, if your hero/heroine could be anywhere else in the world what would she be doing, wearing, or talking about? How about putting her/him into a different time? How would your character get around if there wasn’t a car? What would be the ultimate-for-him activity?
Designing this portrait will help you figure out who your hero is. When he is tossed into trouble how will he handle it? Come back to this picture and look for clues.
Gerke says the most important thing to consider: Why would this be what the character chooses? How is this the ultimate expression, or revelation, of the person’s core?
What would be in your portrait?
More about Jeff Gerke:
He says, “Please point people to www.fictionacademy.com, which will be my site for online video training when we go live later this month.”
You can find Jeff’s book at: http://www.amazon.com/The-First-50-Pages-Editors/dp/1599632837
Back in 2005, I had the opportunity to have two of my favorite authors’ sign the books I’d purchased. To be able to stand close to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nora Roberts was a dream come true for me. I can picture the scene in my mind’s eye to this day.
Since then, I’ve watched writer friends get “The Call” and then I joined the ranks of the published, too. Being able to hold a book in your hand and actually sign it for a reader is something a writer hopes for, even if my reader isn’t as smitten as I was when I approached Phillips and Roberts.
To be able to hold a hand is not as easy as it once was. The midlist is vanishing and it is harder to sell the manuscript you’d worked so hard to produce. I have been able to have both print and e-book publications with a small press. In this economy, mixed with the demand for e-books, a smaller publishing house may only produce e-books. Further, a larger house may want to turn your manuscript into an e-book only format as well.
Yes, e-books are convenient and the future of publishing, but technology has a hard time satisfying the public’s desire to personally connect with the author. So, the question is: Can a digital only author participate at a book signing and/or connect with their readers?
First of all, there are a few ways to get yourself noticed. For example, sign bookmarks, or rack cards, and leave them at the book store to pass out (you’ll need to check with the book store’s policy). Or, pass them out anywhere you can.
Authors can do readings and Q&A sessions, which can be even more valuable than a book signing. Here you can meet the author, state your appreciation for their book, shake their hand, and take their picture.
When there is a group book signing, think about printing, then displaying, a booklet with a chapter included, or with photos and an interview with the author about how he/she wrote the book, etc. When shoppers pass by your display, you will have something to give them.
I have heard of people getting the back of their e-readers, or iPads signed by an author with Sharpies, and some say this will become more popular. How about signing associated merchandise? See what Vista Print, or your printing house, has to offer.
We should never underestimate technology. I imagine with it will come more and more marketing ideas and a way to connect. Perhaps you’ve heard of companies such as Autography and Kindlegraph that have come up with ways for authors to digitally sign electronic books. In the case of Autography, they’ve actually come up with a way to add a page to your digital book that contains the author’s inscription.
The creator of Kindlegraph, Evan Jacobs, says, “…the connection between authors and readers is the important thing and the signed book is simply a memento of that connection. The move toward digital books doesn’t mean that these connections will no longer exist or no longer be important. On the contrary, I created Kindlegraph as an acknowledgment of the power of personal connections even while people become more anonymous because of technology.”
Here are a few thoughts about selling e-books at a book signing:
If you don’t already know, check to see if your publisher has an author discount, and download them into a CD to sell.
If there’s an internet connection, bring your laptop and sell to those through your Amazon (Smashwords, B&N, etc.) account. Remember, you would have to have an account at each site.
Follow the author’s link to the book then gift the book to the buyer’s email address. You’d receive a royalty for the sale. This idea is from author, Delle Jacobs.
I’ve heard of a credit card scanner that attaches to your phone. I’m not techno savvy with phones these days, so you’ll need to research to see if you can use PayPal with a phone.
I blog twice a month (every other Thursday) at GEM STATE WRITERS. Gem State Writers is on the top ten list at Versatile Blogger.
Check it out at: http://gemstatewriters.wordpress.com/
July is here and my new novella, WANTING MOORE, has just been released. Black Lyon Publishing did everything possible to get it out early and to put the novella in paperback as well as e-book formats, which is beyond my hopes and dreams for this historical. My stories take place in the mountains of Northeast Oregon, and the rush was to ensure the paperback edition would be available for the Baker City’s Miner’s Jubilee, held on July 15-17. They have made the date. Black Lyon also gave me input on the cover, and kept the title I chose, a luxury so many writers aren’t allowed. I couldn’t have had a better company to take these extra steps for me and WANTING MOORE. The story goes like this:
Independent beyond what’s good for her, Isabella Moore leaves her brothers and parents in Prairie City in search of her true calling. Traveling to Haines, Oregon, by way of the historic Bourne-Haines Stage Road, she runs across the type of people from whom she’d been sheltered, leading to an accident and a man she’d only dreamed about.
Blacksmith Gabriel Stone saw enough of death during the Civil War to last him a lifetime. To him, Isabella is a broken wildflower in need of his care-but caring for her may bring back unwanted memories of this former life as a doctor. And dare he entrust his heart to a woman filled with ideas of gold mining and adventure?
They were lost until love put them back on the right path.
As of today, it is on Amazon as a Kindle Edition, but will soon be listed as print.
Thanks for reading!
When I started writing, my sons were young. They left for school in the morning, and I plopped down on my bed and wrote my first novel by hand. It took me about thirteen months to finish and then transfer to a word processor. At least I thought it was finished, yet now I know it needed about ten good turns of editing. I sent it to a few editors and by the time I received the rejection slips, I had a job.
For years I’d dreamed of selling a book and then retiring from my day job. I could just imagine myself cranking out page after page, taking a break to have chocolate, and then back to the page once more. Life couldn’t get better than that, I believed.
But something happened along the way; I started to really enjoy my day job. Good thing, because I hadn’t sold that one book to get me propelled into stardom! Still, I loved writing and tapped away at it when I could.
I learned more about writing from good critique partners, and sold the third manuscript I’d written, then the fourth. Somewhere along the line, I learned that it’s very hard to quit your day job to be a full-time writer, unless you’re bestselling author Dean Koontz, or Nora Roberts.
Over time, I lost my longing to be a full-time writer, probably because it was nigh impossible. After trial and error, I learned how to work and write until twists and turns in the road had my husband retiring early. I, too, had enough years to draw my pension.
By this time, retirement meant many things to me. I’d lost sight of that young woman sitting on the bed writing by hand. I now had a chance to do the things that were limited due to my time at work. I could read, cook, travel, see family more often, sew and sleep in. And I still wanted to keep my hand in education and presently work part-time.
So, I cut down my work week by hours, twenty-two to be exact. Did I mention I have my summers off? I can travel during the summer. I’m making a homemade pizza tonight. I can sleep in tomorrow morning. Sure, this all takes me away from my writing, plus I noticed something else. I’m not alone sitting on my bed writing as in the old days. My husband is here with me most of the time. He likes to watch television or movies and guess who gets side-tracked?
There is so much more involved with a writing career today. Marketing oneself, and book, is required for almost all writers these days. One must have a website and blog updated regularly. I’d been spending time with this lately, too. If you’re not careful it sucks a large amount of time every day.
I heard a saying that makes a lot of sense to me. If you need something done, ask a busy person to do it. I got just as much writing done when I was working full-time at my day job, than I did retired or semi-retired. Many busy people know they have time limits and get things done in a more organized manner. They just do it. Since retiring I’ve been saying to myself that I can do it tomorrow. That’s wrong, I know now. A plan is necessary no matter how much time you have.
Leaving your day job to write is not the answer to everything. You will still have to plan your day, and your writing time. If you don’t your time will wither away, and you’ll have nothing to show for it.
My new retirement plan (excuse me, semi-retirement plan), is to take my laptop into a separate room for a period of the day, on a regular basis. Wake up just a little bit earlier, on a regular basis. Plan out my manuscript in sections, on a regular basis. Take my AlphaSmart or computer with me when I travel and use it, on a regular basis. Limit the time I spend online on a regular basis, even if it is for promotion. I’ll let you know how it goes.