Archives for the month of: August, 2014

Dawn - from the From My Front Window SeriesUPDATE

The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic

Sales to date (7 weeks after publishing) = 0

Other numbers show lots of smoke, but no fire.

BookLife has decided not to review my book, “despite the strength of your project”, whatever that means.

I have entered The Big Picture into The Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards and already am experiencing buyer’s remorse for spending the $110 entry fee. Winners will be notified on or before Dec. 31

Amazon sale starts September 5th – price drops to 99¢; then rises to $1.99 on Sept. 8; and back up to the full price of $2.99 on Sept. 12

 

You can’t kid a kidder

I’ve been a salesman most of my life. I sell advertising for my newspapers. I’m good at it.

What’s this got to do with writing? Nothing specifically, it’s about all those sales pitches I receive everyday about how to be a successful writer and sell my books.

Writing is about the only thing that everyone thinks they can do – without practice or training. “One day I’ll sit down and write my life story, it will be best seller.” “I’ve got an idea for a novel and when I find the time I’ll write it. It will be a blockbuster.”

Business is a bit like that. People think they can cook so they open a restaurant. When they discover there’s a little more to it, that’s where advertising (me) steps in.

Advertising is intangible. It’s trying to find an appropriate message and medium to sell your product, yourself, to make more money, to be a success. See where I’m going with this? Not yet? Hang in there.

To be a successful salesman you have to have a bit of larceny in you, a tiny bit of the con. You learn to spin the positive, skim over the negative, emphasis the dream. At some point the buyer makes that leap of faith, they pay hard cash for a concept they “hope” will return more than the outlay.

Many times I’ve known that the campaign would fail. The product was no good, the price point was to high, the creative didn’t work. But this is what the client wanted and, what the hell, I’d take his money. Better him go broke than me.

The only way to assess if advertising has worked is results. Results are sales, always have been, still are, always will be. If the sales didn’t increase that didn’t stop me from going back to client and trying to sell him again. I have a portfolio of reasons for him to continue spending his money. Let me list some:

– you are building good public relations. People will begin to watch for your next ad and that will be the one they respond to.

– the first ad always comes up short. You have to be persistent (keep spending)

– how do you know that sales would not have been even worse without the ad

– it’s very difficult to figure out who shopped because of the ad and who didn’t

– those three people that came in with the coupon – they’ll tell all their friends about the great experience they had and your sales will grow exponentially.

– if it didn’t work how come everyone is doing it?

Do you see the parallel in what all the pitchmen are telling you about spending your money on that how-to-book, marketing seminar, conference or social media platform that well make your book a best-seller?  Are they bad people? Am I? Do they believe in what they’re selling? Sure they do in as much as if all the stars are aligned what they’re selling might work.

Should I spend money chasing a dream? Definitely. Should I be totally delusional about it? It might be easier, but no, I frankly can’t afford it. So, I try to choose wisely, if that’s possible, and ask to see results in sales not in website hits, retweets, profile views, etc. The only results that matter are sales – always have been, are now, and always will be.

When they try to tell me otherwise I tell them, “You can’t kid a kidder.”

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My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://devinedestinies.com

Read my current work(s) in progress a http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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Sunset with wiresRecently, I had a nice chat with Kathy Meis, the founder of Bublish. Meis believes every author should build a personal brand. She believes Bublish is the tool that will allow you to do that with minimum time and effort.

Bublish claims to be a lot of things including, “A revolutionary tool that enables authors to actively promote their book while writing it”. Just exactly how that would be done or even if an author should reveal publicly anything other than his best work is a matter of opinion.

As an author on Bublish I can upload my books to their site and then easily extract excerpts from it, and, accompanied by personal insights, launch them via Twitter, Facebook, email and through Bublish into the digital void. The goal is to build a brand that will attract a following that will eventually translate into book sales – I think. Notice that sales is at the end of this list.

Because I didn’t make notes during our conversation and because, in essence, Meis reiterated the points she addressed in her article entitled “Why Every Author Should Build a Personal Brand”, posted on the Bublish site, I’m going to comment on the article.

In the article Meis asks, “So if readers were asked to describe your personal author brand or value proposition in a few words or phrases, what would they say? Do you know?”

Right here, I have a problem with the premise. Why would anyone ask the few readers I have to describe my “personal author brand or value proposition in a few words or phrases”? Would they even know what the question meant? I don’t?

Meis explains, “If not, perhaps it’s worth taking some time to define and create a plan for your personal brand.

Okay, so, let’s say I think the lack of a “personal author brand” might be the missing link to the success that has been eluding me. How would I “define and create a plan” for my personal brand? Meis suggests five steps:

 

  1. Discover your brand

Explore and define your life-long aspirations, passions and goals as an author. When you start in a place of honesty, you build a brand that is genuine.

I would like to write well and be respected for that ability by those in the profession. Through my books, I want to address issues that concern me and share my vision of the world with readers.

 

  1. Ask hard questions

What makes your work compelling? What differentiates you and your writing in today’s book marketplace? How do readers perceive you and your work? Is that perception aligned with the perception you desire? Do the books you create and the way you market them help you cultivate your personal author brand and achieve your goals? How do you add value to your community of fans?

Is this a huge jump or have I missed something? It’s almost impossible for me (and I’d bet this goes for most writers) to be objective about my work. It’s like unconditional love – even if you recognize the flaws you overlook them in light of their positive qualities. So wouldn’t these “hard questions” be bettered answered by my readers – hold on, I don’t have any.

 

  1. Create a plan

Map out a clear long-term roadmap to help you reach your goals. This should include the types of books you will write (not necessarily just genre, specific qualities are important too), when you will release them, the way you will share them with the world, and the types of actions you will take on a regular basis to demonstrate the qualities and values for which you wish to be known.

Though I may have some idea of the types of books I will write, how will I know when they’ll be completed or how they’ll be published? The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, was completed a year ago. Forty-two rejections and twelve months later, I self-published it. What if the first agent I sent it to wanted to represent it?

 

  1. Choose your platforms.

Hang on? I thought I was supposed to have a following before I released my books? Wouldn’t this following determine the platform?

 

  1. Think long term.

Of course, Meis wants you to think long term, and keep renewing that subscription  ($199 per year), but at some point you have to take a peak at the bottom line and see if you’re getting any return on your investment.

The rest of the article goes on to give examples of successful authors that have huge social media followings but begs the question which came first – did a social media following result in fame or the opposite? Industry professionals now, almost unanimously agree (unless they’re flogging a book stating otherwise) that social media followings do not convert into sales.

So in the end, I thank Kathy very much for the free Bublish subscription, which I continue to use. She tells me to persevere and things will begin to happen. I appreciate our frank discussion. I feel she’s sincere.

The Bublish Authorpreneur Platform is seductive and each day I check it to see what kind of response my “bubbles” are getting. At the time of posting this blog I’ve had 880 bubble views;105 viewers have gone a step further to view my Bublish profile; and, 8 have taken an additional step to check me out on Amazon.

What does this mean? I’m not sure. I do know it hasn’t resulted in any sales.

Oh, but then I’m forgetting to apply step five.

 

30

 

My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://devinedestinies.com

Read my current work(s) in progress a http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

sunsetbranche_0141 copy copyEvery writer who has progressed beyond fantasizing about writing a novel and actually got serious immediately learns the building blocks of what makes a good story – Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

In Story Physics, Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling, Larry Brooks has taken these fundamentals and, using pseudo scientific jargon, would have you believe that if you put various literary elements together in a specific way this formula will bring forth a best selling story, just as the right combination of hydrogen and oxygen will create water.

Story Physics is a masterpiece of overstatement, overwriting and repetition. The simplest concepts are dissected, analyzed – the straight becoming crooked, the simple becoming impossibly complicated, with the result being they end up exactly as they were and always have been.

Here’s Brook’s six forces of story physics:

  1. A compelling narrative premise – sounds like the good old Goal and Motivation to me
  2. Dramatic tension – can you say “Conflict”
  3. Expositional pacing – remember the story arc – lesson two at the night school course, How to Write a Novel.
  4. Hero Empathy – we’re back to Goal and Motivation
  5. Vicarious reading experience – a hyped up way of saying “show don’t tell”.
  6. Narrative Strategy – I mean, really why don’t you just call it what it is, Point of View

Throughout the book, Brooks encourages writers to come up with great plots, great characters and execute (sic) them with powerful writing. If you don’t think this is ridiculous advice then consider the opposite.

Why Brooks takes universal storytelling concepts then tortuously convolutes and misrepresents them until they are beyond baffling is a mystery to me. Perhaps he hopes the confused reader will end up at his website Storyfix.com, where you can get a “Professional Full-Plan Story Coaching Adventure” for just $195.

Story Physics, likely the companion book to his story coaching business, reads like the transcript of a Writer’s Digest webinar. Oh, imagine that, it’s published by Writer’s Digest Books. 

 

My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

Meet Freyja, you’re going to hate her.

 

Young, talented, ambitious, self-confident, a photographer trying to break out.

What makes her different from so many others is her uncompromising ethic.

Sure she wants success and recognition, but only on her own terms.

 

Freyja wants to know, “Is any one honest, ethical and truthful? Is everyone compromised?”

Forget ten righteous people, she’d settle for one.

 

The character of Freyja feels the way most of us do, at least sometimes, about family, friends, lovers, society, authority, politicians. The difference is she tells them and always acts accordingly.

 

Some consider her cynical, callous, and crude.

Others see her as self serving, self absorbed, and downright selfish

Those close to her suggest she’s unfeeling, unforgiving, and unrealistic.

Hate her because you don’t have the courage to live an uncompromised life,

hate her because you can’t forfeit your delusions about our society,

hate her because you don’t have the self-confidence to be like her.

 

Freyja doesn’t give a damn.

 

Freyja wants truth – in relationships, in society, in life, but the only satisfaction she finds is the truth in her art.

 

Now someone wants to make that a lie.

 

Freyja is the heroine in my new novel The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic available at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

 

My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

 

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monarch_0047 copy copyDay 26 of The Big Picture Publishing Plan and no sales, no reviews – it’s like a boycott (I should be so lucky).

Wattpad shows the first three chapters of The BIG PICTURE have received 43 reads, up three in the last week; Forest Primeval, my current wip is at 430 reads, up 19 in a week. My website has recorded 654 hits up 132 in a week.

All of which means – nothing.

I’ve added a subtitle – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic. This after having difficulty finding my own book on the internet. Amazon lists 86,053 books whose title include the words The BIG PICTURE. The only way to differentiate my book was to add this subtitle. Now if I search under The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic bingo, there it is.

Here’s some free advice – before you publish, check Amazon for similar titles.

I continue to Tweet daily to no avail and I mean no avail. My Twitter analytic tab shows the following:

Impressions – the number of times users saw your tweet in the last 28 days = 0

Engagements – the number of time users have interacted with a tweet including profile, picture, hash tags, links, retweets, followers, replies, favorites = 0

Bublish has generously allowed me upload The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic without upgrading – without going from free to pay, and post excerpts and the insights.

The sight works fine but I’m having some interesting communications with these people about the relevance of the concept – that readers want to connect with authors, and establishing this relationship will result in increased book sales.

I know I don’t want to talk to the author’s whose books I read, and you obviously don’t want to communicate with me (it’s alright, I understand since the feeling is mutual).

I’m also getting the same response from a new feature on Goodreads called “Ask the Author” which the moderators suggested I activate on my Author’s Dashboard to allow readers to ask questions. So far, no readers have asked why I’m so stupid to write fiction or anything else for that matter.

In case you haven’t been checking your spam file, the new path to bestseller success being flogged is the idea of “establishing a relationship with readers”. I’m thinking this theory amounts to about the same as “friending” strangers on Facebook, encouraging a flock of “followers” on Twitter, or increasing your “tribe” on Tribr, and that is, in my experience, and in the findings of more and more industry professionals, little or nothing.

Bublish is out to prove me wrong. I’ve tended to be a bit testy on this subject and I must say they’ve very patient with me – so far.

In the face of all this, this – what is the word I’m looking for – foolishness, folly, how about failure, I’ve decided to run a “Price Promotion” for my book on Amazon. Beginning at 8 am, Sept. 5, the price of The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic drops to 99¢; then rises to $1.99 on Sept. 8; and back up to the full price of $2.99 on Sept. 12

It’s hard to believe that two dollars will make a difference.

 

30

 

My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. They are currently on sale – all three books for just $8.99

http://devinedestinies.com

 

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

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