Balance

Leave a comment

Foods_(cropped)

Via Public Domain by Agricultural Research Service Northamerica1000

You have to eat. As much as you love working on your novel, short stories, and experimental pieces you have to do some things to bring money in. So I write on digital platforms, and if you want to try for a good one apply for WriterAccess. Grand process, friendly and fair describes them. They have a good system for conflict resolution.

My Other Life

writing

Via http://www.flickr.com by Jonathan Broadsky

My other enterprise given to me by an Indian family (Karran) on Christmas Day is Inkedlinks.com. The kindness of India, the faith of Hindus, and the practical business sense along with rivers of common sense when I totally mess up makes me a better person. I manage a set of writers there who have their own businesses. I search for projects that fit our values as a group of writers__high quality, fair price, list your resources, and do it to the best of your ability. Everyday I learn something new and interesting from them. The amount of kindness and encouragement they extend me puts me in humble thankfulness and gives me hope. They are not all Americans. They are not all Christian but many times they have been Christ like to me.

A Blessing of No Fear

Hurricane_Frances,_September_2nd

Via NOAA

My writers have “no fear”. Two major projects during two major hurricanes that ravaged the Philippines and the towns two of my writers lived in. I here sitting in the West in the warm Texas sunshine innocently send a reminder for articles to be in. They turn in early or drop a note normally and had not. As they turned in by mobile hotspot one had the roof ripping off her home. She asked for forgiveness if she got it in a little late. Her work was impeccable despite the added stress. The other writer the next week was sending in while the two homes beside hers disappeared in the storm. She was thankful hers was safe and that she got her articles in. The ones in India are ever polite and full of good ideas. If someone has life happen no matter how busy the others are they will try to fill the spot and turn the article in on time. (they all have other jobs, and write, and some have kids)  I have made mistakes even with money, and they have been nothing but generous, patient, and kind. The American one well he cheers, rants, and raves that we should have better paying clients. He has even Skyped and talked direct to get us more fair pay because he is good at what he does. He takes a bit more risk than I do and tells them exactly what it should be. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. When we have a project, and we are all working toward that goal we have writer contentment.

It is Coming (The Compulsion)

I am still working on the sequel to my first novel. It has taken several twists turns that I did not expect. It was a much bigger challenge since the culprit in it is not a person but what corruption does to good people. Harder to write in many ways, and Sharlene of course had to change from the innocent she was in the first novel. It is longer. I am going back through and making the timeline flow, and putting in flourishes. I still have the ending to write. I keep switching the scenarios or maybe Sharlene and Sajiv are. After all it is their life they are living so I guess they should have a say about the outcome. Most of it is a result of going out in the world and making deals for my writers. Different setting and field but root cause analysis is the same sin. All of which makes it a more realistic novel.

Writers you have to pay the bills and put food on the table. You have to find a balance in your creative life. Find some time to do what you like. It keeps you —you. May you all have at least one project manager or editor that knows that. May they help you do that like Rajiv Karran who has a sixth sense about how to get the best writing out of someone and take care of them at the same time.

Until Next Time and no Telling When,

Have a grand escapade

Mary

Leave a comment

4460976042_3daf75b6b6_z

courtesy of http://www.flickr.com by Alan Cleaver

Writing comes as an ever changing craft. Getting the balance of it takes intentional thinking.You have to put food on the table and gas in the car. So you find assignments that give a steady income. At the same time you have to do larger projects that may catch the eye of a literary agent or the public’s in self publishing realms. The third piece comes as continuing to develop as a writer.

Assignments

The Internet in one sense has made finding writing assignments easier. Traditional methods involved writing query letters and sending your resume and manuscript which was placed in a slush pile. Like waiting for Christmas present expectantly you wait for some to say you picked me. Frankly not enough jobs existed and competition was fierce. The best person does not always win but the one who fits the mood and theme of the day does.

Internet writing offers a variety of platforms to choose from. The short articles someone reads daily comes from a writer hired by a venue. Internet formats developed differently for many reasons suchs the size of the web page, media has trained many brains to read a large volume in short paragraphs. Most Internet articles range from 150 words to 800 words. Many articles have short subheadings and graphics. Most of it has informative value. Then you have your large venues of ebook publishing. Hybrid publishers who do some traditional and some modern.

Pay

Traditional methods if one is chosen you may get an advance or 6 to 8 percent of the money made. They have a large marketing machine so a decent income for a time and a promise to publish your next novel or book. So few are chosen. Most are quite gracious when they do make it since they understand from their many friends that some of it is luck that there book was recognized at all. The others use them as mentors, teachers and people to follow.

Internet methods you get paid but not necessarily regularly. You have to be careful about exploitation. The markets pay by word and by hour. Both have their hazards. Most writers make 1 to 6 cents a word in the Western civilizations. So speed becomes the answer to earning a living. Snagging a column helps a bit but those jobs are few and far between. Getting paid by clicks can happen but not for most. Have other income to fall on since it varies.

Self Publishing

Amazon has a portion called Kindle Direct Publishing. It allows an author to self publish for no fee. My shorter stories I developed at the Longridge Writer’s Group with Tom Hyman as my mentor I have published some of those there. ( Grace the Music Man Way The Constitution and Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson) I set a goal of sending out my stories and when I get the third magazine letter saying we like your story but we cannot use it I publish it on Amazon. My thinking is it is Tom Hyman approved (New York Times best seller author, editor of the Washington Post for years), been rejected 3 times by high quality magazines and I received the good letter that is it ready for public viewing. Also a trend in the younger generation among corporate players is to read short stories on their lunch hours or breaks. They tell you on that platform one needs to publish many things to make money. It is a 30 percent for Amazon and 70 percent for you deal.

Excursion

Once you get proficient enough in the Internet writing you can start your own website and offer writing services. The need for high quality writing comes huge and the Internet now is getting old enough things have to become updated in new formats. Managing writers comes as another way to make money. I do that for http://inkedlinks.com/ with an Indian partner Dhurghae who manages the web end. That has proved to be a wonderful business adventure with clients, writers and a partner.

Encouragement

My oldest son has writer friends. They sent word to me that in the early years develop the craft. As you get to your third year develop the business. As you approach your 5th year expect your reward. Not a single writer has claimed you will get rich. They all talk about the craft and the life. Most are gracious. The few that are not fall by the wayside eventually or go into other areas. On a personal level it works for me in this stage of my life. I get art, I get to do my music, I have added theater and writing which is always fun. Mary took her pain that she could not get rid of and it spilled out to transform into this. I still have the pain but I have found with the help of other artists a way to comfort myself. The rest I have not figured out and may never.

Whatever you choose to do, diversify. Explore the other paths and decide for yourself what to keep.

Until next time have grand escapades,

Mary

It is All in the Marketing or Is It?

Leave a comment

You can write the best book ever. Have a nearly perfect manuscript. Spend countless hours tweaking words to conciseness until it says what you want it to say and describe each scene dripping with sensory detail but if no one knows about your book no one buys it. My book is known. Have money buy my book. 

Image

 

 

       Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org  http://2bgr8stock.deviantart.com/art/Money-Cash-113445826

Taxes Make You Look at the Facts

It has been stated across the Internet that it takes about $10,000 for traditional publishers to begin marketing your book. Market conscience to the max, but for most writers writing is not about the money but  about the craft. At times writing articles earns you less than one dollar an hour. You do it anyway because it matters. Other times someone  pays you an exorbibant amount for 25 words. At tax time you get an overall picture of the year. 

What it Takes?

Image

Courtesy of wickimedia.org by User:David Monniaux, flickr user 007 Tanuki, User:Jorge Ryan, and User:ZX95

The other route the author writes and markets while a hybrid publisher does the publishing and markets. It allows many more writers to get their work on platforms such as Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. It is tax time. Here are the facts for the first year of “The Grand New Delhi Escapade”.  

Editing cost between $800 and $1500 for the novel of my size. Some charge by page and some by words. I had my book edited twice since it was the first time. To prep the manuscript for publishing I hired an outside editor recommended by a friend. She did a grand job on it and it made the process go quickly. I chose to use a hybrid publisher and they charged a fee a little less than $1000. For that amount they prepped the book for publication, gave advice, put a cover on it, a webpage, a press release, taught me the process, and gave me access to 55 outlets in marketing on major platforms online. Priced separately I could not even touch it. They recommended an edit which was to create more flow in the novel and it was around $800. The book published in five months.

I chose digital media advertising for my novel. A publicist could have been hired for $300 a month to set up book store dates and events. It was limited to the local area with a setting in India I felt global methods may be better suited. Two million people saw my book on Google Ads. Does not mean they bought it but it was good enough for them to click on and take a look. Facebook 382,345 clicked and viewed my book. On LinkedIN 1,172,201 million people looked at my book. So about 3 and a half million people. Of the three I got the most clicks for the best price was Google Ads and general public clicks. Facebook exposed my book to teenagers. LinkedIn the professional network exposed by book to executives with buying power. For us new authors I would say it is good exposure early in your career. It gets your face and name out there. I ran strategic campaigns like when the book first came out (2 weeks), then for summer reading (2 weeks) and then for the holiday season (3 weeks). 
 
The Count 1 book, 2 book, 3 nook …… 100 kindle….. etc.
 
Because of changes in the process of distributing royalities at my publisher that I cannot give you it. I would like a year’s  worth of data to decide. The ebook did make money so it is on the path of gaining. (publisher recovered their cost so my turn) The paperback I do not know since I do not have that report. Some places takes months to report. That comes as the hardest part. Reading the amount of inventory available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble does not give you the information you need to market. You have a long wait. Authors tell me it is worth it and books do make money even though most do not get rich. A long term investment with a long term return. At this point selling enough books to get a literary agent interested has become the goal and creating supplements to the novel to reach niche markets will be my project this year.
 
Was it Worth It?
Image
Picture taken by my Grandma Sutton, Mary at 6 and the Law
 
Yes on a personal level it was worth it. It healed my soul and body. I developed into an artist with gifts in music, art and writing. I have written a children’s book and it will be published soon ~ “White Shark Cafe”. Some how in it, it is the ultimate act of defiance against all the people who told me no or hurt me. Some how it makes them no longer matter. Having a disability develop in my brain processing makes it a serious victory against all those who try to make us less. In the writing I found all the pieces of me and know just like scripture says we are so much more. 
 
I Am
 
I write  because that is who I am. I sing because that is who I am. I oil paint and draw because it is who I am. Mary who’s pain and feelings all spilled out one day, God took put back together, smiled, and handed me a beautiful mess to play with for the rest of my life. No one ever gets to take it away. 
 

Compare and Contrast

Leave a comment

Image

Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com by Pascual Lopez

Marketing a book feels like a walk in the jungle with lions, tigers and bears in the bushes looking for an opportunity to minimize your needs and over maximize theirs. But the Internet is a wild wooly place with more good than not so good. White hat (ethical practices) tactics win in the long run but maintaining that at times becomes difficult. Many people help along the way with their blogging, comments, chats and general articles across the Internet. Most only ask you to pay it forward to someone else, give credit where credit is due and update them if you find something that works. A variety of services exist to fit any budget whether a package deal or by pieces.

What I Have Learned

For us do it yourselfers who patchwork together a marketing plan that is part services and part our own creativity the Internet is a lifesaver. The Big 6 (Publishers like McGraw Hill, HarperCollins) have huge marketing machines. A handful of writers make it and are chosen. For them it is a grand excursion but it leaves out the thousands of other writers whose book is high quality and a possibility as well. The proof is the rise of self publishing even on Amazon.com. Most writers love to write, are compelled to, and would do it whether they ever got paid. Bills have to be paid, and food put on the table. Room at the table exists for many more and be able to make a living say $30,000 to $60,000 which most of us Americans do just fine on.

How the Campaign Goes

My book came out in late May. It took till the middle of July to get the full marketing machine in swing online. This is the first prime Christmas buying season I have experienced as a writer marketing a book. Fortunately, I practiced FaceBook ads, Google ads, and LinkedIn Ads in the summer reading season and learned much. So this round I knew a more personal touch was called for. I like that better any way. It bothers me people buy my book and I don’t get to thank them. Most people work hard for their money, and I truly do appreciate when they spend it on my book. On Facebook as someone clicked the like button I would write a simple note like I use to do my children in my classroom. Naming them by name, sincerely thanking them, and tried to say something to make them smile. It is one of those things your parents teach you. “Say thank you for the gifts or someones niceness.” My friend, Rajiv Karran, who inspired me has a saying he does every morning. He says “I thank you, thank you, thank you and accept the gift for today.” A grand reminder that life is about thanking and giving blessings what ever your faith is or not.

That is what writing is __a gift. A chance to say thanks, to point out paths, to express a philosophy, to share ideas, and to work on issues whether they are yours, society’s or a groups. If you give a gift you always get it back in some way. For this season that recognizes giving, may you be generous, may you help someone one along their chosen path, and may you never forget the people who got you there whether it was extremely unforgettably pleasurable or even if it wasa bit  mean and nasty (just do not pass those negative methods on to someone else make pleasurable ones).

Have grand escapades of the holy light kind and if that is not your cup of tea then do random acts of kindess.

Mary Author of The Grand New Delhi Escapade

The Grand Debates: Publishing Between Authors, Publishers and Book Sellers

Leave a comment

Mary Page

Mary Page

Novelist The Grand New Delhi Escapde at SBPRA

I participate in different discussion groups on the net. I am in SBPRA’s  Publish On Demand Group. The Question was asked

Traditionally Published Authors want to Self-Publish and Self-Publishing Authors want Traditional Contracts.. go figure!

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/marketing-for-the-long-haul-the-shifting-ground-of-book-pr-in-2014/?et_mid=652831&rid=240997522

The article does a grand job of explaining the ins and outs of both ways. It has been an us versus them battle but more and more authors are seeing that using both routes offers the best chance making a living and keeping both sides honest in the process. The group is by invitation. I cannot post the information shared. It is a shame though because many have grand marketing ideas. I will post my response since I believe in transparency where ever possible.

Responses

Lovely author

Kharis MaceyKharis

Kharis Macey

Author/Writer/Producer at Kharis Macey Works, LLC

Hi Robert, I find this article very interesting and could only imagine how it would feel to be handled by a traditional publishing company. That is to say, so much promotion and marketing responsibilities would be taken off my shoulder. I guess, in the long run, the positive of this change would be less stress physically and psychologically. Financially, I believe you’d end up gaining or spending the same amount of money to get your name and work before the public. I recommend other authors read this article; therefore, I’ve posted to a variety of groups. Thanks! Kharis Macey

 

Mary Page

Hmmm I think you need to do both if you have the opportunity. No one can predict which route will make the most sales. Talking to people about your book whether in a bookstore, while eating, at church, in line at the grocery store, to the neighbors, at Art League, at college courses, at choirs, at the library, family and friends and then using social media to expose your book far beyond the local area or your inner contacts gives it a better chance of getting known. Social media is often more than a one time chat. I find with it people come back over and over again to discuss the book, share information about things for another book, future writers checking on how to publish or what publisher you use. Other publishing routes gets it out there faster and you have try some things to get it noticed. Traditional you depend on everyone else to do that until they tell you who, what, when and where. Other publishing routes you chose how to do it while traditional you are locked into their marketing machine. In the other routes you do not have to do the same old process. You can try new things and new ways, find niche markets no one else has tried since selling more frequently in smaller quantities than traditional marketing makes your book a long term investment and then adding other books increases the traffic on all the sites. Only a consumer knows why they make the purchase and the reasons or even why larger groups decide to take a chance and buy in quantity. The authors at the LongRidge Writers Group that I am a part of say similar things even though they have sold book after book. Traditional it takes at minimum $10,000 or more to get a book out there and a long wait period. Other routes with social media as a support for a fraction of the cost you can get the book exposed to many markets and add in an entity like SBPRA plugged into the Ingram system you get the best of both worlds with a reasoanble cost. I like finding new ways and venues at my age. Have awards in my other careers, top of my field, and top level in money done by someone else’s rules. This time I did my way and by my choice.

A Lesson on Publishing: Inside and Outside~Robert Fletcher

Leave a comment

Place I published my book interviewed the CEO Robert Fletcher. Pass on to anyone writing a book. http://bookforeignrights.com/sbpra-ceo-interviewed-in-all-about-book-publishing/

So Comes the Novel

Leave a comment

2321115942_3791fb6a6b

Via www.flickr.com by the Italian Voice

After experimenting with short pieces of writing and getting paid on the Internet, I joined the Institute of Children’s Literature shortly thereafter. I had been dabbling in writing to heal along with oil painting and increasing my music activities. Teachers at the Institute are high level authors that are published, have won awards and are the most patient people in the world. The course has a component where the instructor has you set your own goals for your writing. I started doing the assignments and began to make further progress reaching a new norm in my life after the triple “D” years. (See blog Why Write?)

The Writing Nudge

640px-Lao_schoolgirls_reading_books

Via www.wikimedia.com by Blue Plover

The assignments were subjects found in your life making it personal and then were taken to the next level. Several things happened at once. I began to have a nudge to do a children’s book about math so I drafted “Ways to Say Zero” using the skills I had gained from Kristin Nitz, the writing teacher and from traits my youngest son, Morgan,  had. It was not an assignment, but I used the techniques.

My Friend Rajiv

My SEO writing became much  improved and I received more assignments.  My editor became Rajiv Karran for many of my assignments. At work he was the consummate professional. He made friends with me on FaceBook where he shared his family, friends and life with me.

Creating Narrative From Real Life

For an assignment I wrote a character sketch from Rajiv’s description of his brother, Sajiv, who had been in a tragic accident in young adulthood. For another assignment, I wrote the first chapter of my novel “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” using the title “Market Boom” based on information about India from him. “Ways to Say Zero” was accepted for publication in April 2012 by Guardian Angel Publishing and is in progress. For the course, I wrote a non-fiction children’s book “White Shark Cafe” which Kristin Nitz helped develop the idea for and edited several times for me. When my novel reaches a certain level then “White Shark Cafe” becomes next for publication.

A Novel is Born

The novel developed slowly at first. As Rajiv and I’s friendship continued I learned more about India. We had some deep discussions about life. I did not want to forget the many things I had learned about India from him. Combining what I learned with SEO writing, all the lessons from the Institute, my prior education experiences, and the friendship the characters came to life in my mind. Dr. McGowan, Sajiv and Sharlene began to wander in and out of my life having conversations and adventures. I rewrote parts of the first chapter and with the help of my adult son, Jake, I discussed ideas and plot lines. His advice was insightful from a young adult perspective. Then Rajiv suggested editor Crystal Ross also a young adult who he had worked with. Her input increased the flow of the novel.

Finding a Publisher

Once a novel is finished you have to find a publisher so about the time I decided to have it edited I was talking to publishers. My children’s book I pitched to various publishers, had the rejection letters, and then the glorious acceptance but that company did not do adult books. Working in SEO and reading the blogs you learn of developing trends in the digital world. I had read about hybrid publishers who collaborated like a partner. So I searched for a company who globally did that. I ran across Sherrill Cannon’s blog on SBPRA who described the process used to publish her children’s books. I sent the manuscript in and Tom the acquisition man accepted it.

Look Mom! I am on Amazon

SBPRA  has taught me the process of publishing to marketing. In future blogs I will describe the process. As of May, I have novel on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and more than 55 other outlets I have found when Googling it. Presently the novel has been scheduled for marketing at five top-level Asian Book Fairs. The video for the book appeared at a major Indian news site. My SEO jobs taught me how to market with social media so typing in “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” it pulls up many sites that have my novel.

As Rajiv taught me whether life is good or not so good when one gets up every morning say “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and I accept the gift for today.”

Writing has given me many unexpected gifts and pleasures. Until next time may you have grand escapades of your own anyway you wish.