Archives for category: Writing – the experience

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The 9th annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is drawing to an end with thousands of E-books, including mine, offered free or at deep discounts through the month of July, 2017.

You might want to take advantage of this offer and download some of my books free since I am resolved not to give anymore of my work away with the exception to my ADVANCE READING TEAM.

Why is that, you might ask? And why now?

There is a school of thought among book marketeers (no, it’s not a typo since I consider them in the same category as racketeers) that giving away your work will create readers who will write reviews that will generate book sales.

It’s a lie.

Take for example this Smashwords promotion. A total of thirty-seven copies of the five books I offered free were downloaded. My other five titles were offered for fifty-percent off. Zero were downloaded. The vast majority of the two hundred and five books that have been downloaded from Smashwords over the past five years have been free. They’ve generated zero reviews.

There are two things about offering your work free to readers:

– there’s no downside. The reader has invested nothing, so if he doesn’t read it he’s lost nothing.

– free is equated to no value. The reader thinks the work is garbage (and he might be right) and that’s why it’s free.

I think my work has value, but I’d still might consider offering it free during the launch if I thought it would generate future sales. It doesn’t so there’s no point in continuing to demean it.

The exception might be the first book in the Mattie Saunders Series I’m writing featuring an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves animals, but not so much people. There’s some good evidence that offering the first book in a series free encourages readers to buy the rest of the series. I’ll let you know once I have a few more books in the series written and published.

Members of my Advance Reading Team will continue to get free and discounted books as well as an opportunity to read new work before it’s released to the public. You can become a member by clicking this link

http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

No spam, no tips to live by, no click bait,

Here’s a list and the link to my books, in e-book format, available free or deeply discounted for two more days during Smashwords sale.

Loving the Terrorist – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/579221

 

The Rocker and Bird Girl – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727720

 

The LOCAL RAG – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671782

 

End of the Rope – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655643

 

Harry’s Truth – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649522

 

Saving Spirit Bear – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/575296

 

Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/700967

 

FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend- 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515038

 

Abandoned Dreams – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573742

 

The BIG PICTURE- A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515877

 

If you’re an indie author you can check out this promotion at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

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East Van Saturday – four short stories and a novella, has just been sent out to three more Canadian publishers.
The process began in November of last year when I decided that self-publishing another work (currently I’ve self-published eight novels and two plays) wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted.
What do I want?
Critical, serious consideration for my writing and you’re not likely going to receive that as an self-published author.
Why? Because it’s now dead easy to self-publish and guess what, everybody’s doing it. In 2015 alone, 625,327 ISBN numbers were issued for individual indie books.
In the past six months I’ve submitted to five publishers. If you think sending out submissions is easy, well, I guess it depends on what you’re comparing it to.
Consider:
– publishers are obsessively specific about how your manuscript should be presented: what font style, what type size, margin widths, headers, etc.
– part of the submission package is to explain why you think your work is a good fit for them,
– you must provide details on how you’re prepared to market your book,
– in most cases they will not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions,
– they don’t let you know they received your submission,
– you are under no circumstances allowed to contact them in any way,
– they don’t let you know if they reject your work, they’ll just shred it, using “a secure process”.
Okay, so it’s not that difficult, it’s just extremely annoying to have to deal with their arrogance – and that’s without ever having the opportunity to speak with any of them.
To make it even more galling, in 2014-15 these guys (and gals) received $30 million dollars in Canadian government subsidies – that’s my tax money.
And what exactly do they do for this money now that all the services: editing, cover design, production, marketing and distribution can be done by the author or purchased from experts relatively inexpensively?
One thing.
They’re the gatekeepers to literary acceptance. If you’re an indie author you’re a joke, if your traditionally published you’re accepted by the literati.
Not that I’ll make any more money. Emerging authors are lucky to receive a fifteen percent royalty on traditionally published books.
So here we go again.
East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella, is to some degree autobiographical and impart to the reader why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you’ll never take East Van out of the boy.
 
Though the stories are all set in East Vancouver (with the exception of Hitchhike, which is a cross Canada misadventure during the “summer of love”), the themes have universal appeal and the music, the fashions and the culture are distinctly familiar to “boomers”.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs
Amazon Author Page  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

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I’ve just completed comparing the results of three survey’s recently sent to me regarding self-publishing and self-published authors to see what the take away is (if there is any).

All three of these surveys were undertaken by companies that are, in the most part, dependent on authors like me who use their platform or services to self-publish their writing.

The survey sample is skewed since the respondents are, in some form or another, clients of these three enterprises. They either publish and distribute their e-books with Smashwords, advertise their e-books on one of WrittenWord Media’s four sites, or possibly are doing all the above as well as contracting editorial, graphic design and marketing services from BookBaby.

The findings provided here are likely their optimistic interpretations.

Experience counts (maybe): Successful authors (in terms of book sales) have more writing experience. They spend more time writing and subsequently have more books available in their catalogue. They also contract more professional services, particularly editors and cover designers.

This, of course doesn’t answer the question of how they became successful? Did they achieve success because of all these things (experience, time, hiring professionals), or once they achieved some success were the the able to spend the time, develop the catalogue and hire the professionals?

What to write. Fiction sells better than non-fiction and romance (especially contemporary, paranormal and erotica) sells far better than any other genre or literary writing. Under served markets include the romantic subgenres New Adult, Contemporary and YA.

How long should your book be? So much for all those pundits who claim novellas are all the rage because they can be read in one sitting or during a commute. Best sellers, again according to Smashwords, average ninety-two thousand words.

Book Marketing. Offering your e-book for free draws thirty-three times more then priced titles, but what’s the upside to offering your books free?

Okay, so money doesn’t matter to you, it’s about making that reader connection, about putting forth your view of the world. Does offering your work at no charge achieve that? How many free books actually get read?

Not very many has been my experience both as a writer and a reader.

I’ve had hundreds of my books downloaded free and it’s resulted in an insignificant number of reviews. On the other hand my ibook library is filled with books I’ve downloaded free and have yet to read.

See what I’m getting at. There’s no downside to clicking and getting a book free.

This might explain why over sixty-one percent of published authors have asked friends or family members to review their books.

However, if you’re writing a series, and series are more than likely going to generate best sellers, than offering the first book free is a good marketing ploy.

Speaking of FREE E-BOOKS. I’m participating in Smashwords Summer Sale and until July 31, 2017 my entire catalogue, eight novels and two plays are either FREE or 50% OFF. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

What’s the right price for an e-book? So if you opt not to offer your books free how much should you charge? Interestingly, e-books priced at $3.99 and $4.99 did better than those priced less – or more, at least on Smashwords.

In the end it was a lot of reading for very little worthwhile information, most of which was self-evident if you really think about it.

Here’s how the sage folks at WrittenWord Media summed up the findings from their survey.

Indie publishing is a viable path to success. Many indie authors signed traditional publishing deals on the strength of their self-published books and many traditionally published authors are becoming indie authors because of more control and higher royalties. Hybrid publishing gives you the benefit of both paths.

This rosy prediction in light of the fact that 727,125 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2015, representing 625,327 individual indie books*.

Well, really, what did you expect them to say?

These surveys would have been more credible if they’d had similar terms of reference. WrittenWord Media considers a “successful author” as someone who makes $100,000 or more in a single year from book sales. Book sales of $500 or less categorizes you as an “emerging author”.

At BookBaby you’re a successful author if you’ve earned $5,000 or more annually from book sales. Those who earned less than $100 were labeled “lower earning authors”.

Huh?

We definitely aren’t comparing apples to apples here. How can one company consider a successful indie author as earning $5000 a year while another has it pegged at $100,000?

But it gets even weirder. Of the forty-three hundred authors who completed the BookBaby survey a little less than five percent fell into the category of the “high achieving group” earning $5000 or more.

If only about two hundred BookBaby authors earn $5000 or more how many WrittenWord Media authors earn over a hundred grand?

Or put another way, how can twenty successful BookBaby authors only be equal to one WrittenWord Media successful author?

See what I mean? It’s like they’re comparing different species.

The take away? Only that I now know how to categorize myself. I’m a “lower earning emerging author”.

And on that we all agree.

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs

30

*According to Bowker, the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers.

 

Smashwords   http://smashwords.com

BookBaby   https://www.bookbaby.com

WrittenWord Media   https://www.writtenwordmedia.com

 

My Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1577656/survey-results-on-self-publishing-self-evident-self-serving

DaisyTrioWind_IMG_0059

I’ve just completed comparing the results of three survey’s recently sent to me regarding self-publishing and self-published authors to see what the take away is (if there is any).

All three of these surveys were undertaken by companies that are, in the most part,  dependent on authors like me who use their platform or services to self-publish their writing.

The survey sample is skewed since the respondents are, in some form or another, clients of these three enterprises. They either publish and distribute their e-books with Smashwords, advertise their e-books on one of WrittenWord Media’s four sites, or possibly are doing all the above as well as contracting editorial, graphic design and marketing services from BookBaby.

The findings provided here are likely their optimistic interpretations.

Experience counts (maybe): Successful authors (in terms of book sales) have more writing experience. They spend more time writing and subsequently have more books available in their catalogue.

They also contract more professional services, particularly editors and cover designers.

This, of course doesn’t answer the question of how they became successful? Did they achieve success because of all these things (experience, time, hiring professionals), or once they achieved some success were the the able to spend the time, develop the catalogue and hire the professionals?

What to write. Fiction sells better than non-fiction and romance (especially contemporary, paranormal and erotica) sells far better than any other genre or literary writing. Under served markets include the romantic subgenres New Adult and Contemporary and YA.

How long should your book be? So much for all those pundits who claim novellas are all the rage because they can be read in one sitting or during a commute. Best sellers, again according to Smashwords, average ninety-two thousand words.

Book Marketing. Offering your e-book for free draws thirty-three times more then priced titles, but what’s the upside to offering your books free?

Okay, so money doesn’t matter to you, it’s about making that reader connection, about putting forth your view of the world.

Does offering your work at no charge achieve that? How many free books actually get read?

Not very many has been my experience both as a writer and a reader.

I’ve had hundreds of my books downloaded free and it’s resulted in an insignificant number of reviews. On the other hand my ibook library is filled with books I’ve downloaded free and have yet to read.

See what I’m getting at.

There’s no downside to clicking and getting a book free.

This might explain why over sixty-one percent of published authors have asked friends or family members to review their books.

However, if you’re writing a series, and series are more than likely going to generate best sellers, than offering the first book free is a good marketing ploy.

Speaking of FREE E-BOOKS. I’m participating in Smashwords Summer Sale and until July 31, 2017 my entire catalogue, eight novels and two plays are either FREE or 50% OFF. Go to

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin 

What’s the right price for an e-book? So if you opt not to offer your books free how much should you charge? Interestingly, e-books priced at $3.99 and $4.99 did better than those priced less – or more, at least on Smashwords.

In the end it was a lot of reading for very little worthwhile information, most of which was self-evident if you really think about it.

Here’s how the sage folks at WrittenWord Media summed up the findings from their survey.

Indie publishing is a viable path to success. Many indie authors signed traditional publishing deals on the strength of their self-published books and many traditionally published authors are becoming indie authors because of more control and higher royalties. Hybrid publishing gives you the benefit of both paths.

This rosy prediction in light of the fact that 727,125 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2015, representing 625,327 individual indie books*.

Well, really, what did you expect them to say?

These surveys would have been more credible if they’d had similar terms of reference. WrittenWord Media considers a “successful author” as someone who makes $100,000 or more in a single year from book sales. Book sales of $500 or less categorizes you as an “emerging author”.

At BookBaby you’re a successful author if you’ve earned $5,000 or more annually from book sales. Those who earned less than $100 were labeled “lower earning authors”.

Huh?

We definitely aren’t comparing apples to apples here. How can one company consider a successful indie author as earning $5000 a year while another has it pegged at $100,000?

But it gets even weirder. Of the forty-three hundred authors who completed the BookBaby survey a little less than five percent fell into the category of the “high achieving group” earning $5000 or more.

If only about two hundred BookBaby authors earn $5000 or more how many WrittenWord Media authors earn over a hundred grand?

Or put another way, how can twenty successful BookBaby authors only be equal to one WrittenWord Media successful author?

See what I mean? It’s like they’re comparing different species.

The take away? Only that I now know how to categorize myself. I’m a “lower earning emerging author”.

And on that we all agree.

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs

 

*According to Bowker, the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers.

Smashwords   http://smashwords.com

BookBaby   https://www.bookbaby.com

WrittenWord Media  https://www.writtenwordmedia.com

My Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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The Rocker and the Bird Girl (RBG) is a novella I wrote on Inkitt, more as an experiment than a serious piece of writing. I wanted to see if I wrote something YA oriented if it would generate for me any of the response this site boasts about. I’d have been happy with comments and criticism, but wouldn’t have turned down a publishing deal.

Here’s the blurb for the story.

If someone called Mattie a bird brain she’d take it as a compliment. She loves birds, has spent her entire twenty years surrounded by them and believes they are more intelligent, loving and loyal than, well, most anything else in this world.

Mattie’s grandfather spent all his retirement, time and funds, establishing a sanctuary for homeless, imported, exotic birds.

Now granddad was gone and so was the money to support the sanctuary. In her desperate search for funding to keep the refuge open Mattie had read that lead guitarist and lyricist Bodine, of the notorious rock band, Seditious, owned a Macaw as a pet.

The guy was obviously fabulously wealthy. Maybe he’d like to spend some of that money saving these beautiful, precious creatures instead of on drugs and expensive toys?

He wasn’t answering her emails so she guessed she’d have to try to get his attention at the Seditious concert that was coming to town. She’d never been to a rock concert and wasn’t looking forward to it, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

***

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll have taken their toll on Bodine, lead guitarist and songwriter for Seditious, the chart topping, outrageous rock band. He’s just playing the part until something better comes along. The problem is what’s better than being a rich and famous rock idol? Certainly not helping some over zealous young woman save exotic birds, even if his best friend is a Blue and Gold Macaw.

I’d knock off a chapter about once every three days and upload it to the site then promote it on Twitter and Facebook. I kind of got caught up with the characters and the plot and before I knew it they were having their way with me.

Once completed, it’s a novella, only 20,000 words, I left it up for awhile but had become too attached to it to let it languish among all the dreck. Besides after four months it had received no comments or criticisms and accumulated only about two hundred and fifty reads and eleven downloads. I’m not sure what that means in terms of success on Inkitt, but it was obvious to me nothing was happening.

And so, more or less to keep my hand in, and as an offering to my ART members (Advance Reading Team) I’ve self-published it and even have some ideas about developing it into a series. It was fun, easy to write and I got to addressed some issues.

You can become an ART member and receive a free copy of The Rocker and the Bird Girl by clicking this link http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

I’m seriously considering turning RBG into a series. Apparently, novellas are very popular (easily read on your cell phone during a commute), and the characters and story ideas are still resonating with me.

All the while I’m still waiting for a traditional publisher to pickup East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella. So far not a peep, one way or another.

When it came to self-publishing the e-book edition of RBG I went with Smashwords and Kindle Direct (Amazon) and this time added Draft2Digital (D2D), more so I could pass along the experience to you and the participants of my workshops and creative writing circles since D2D has limited distribution which is more than duplicated by the coverage Smashwords offers.

If you think making it even easier to self-publish is a good thing (I’m not sure it is) than you’ll love Draft2Digital (D2D). I found uploading my manuscript along with the pertinent details extremely user friendly. They’ll even provide front and back matter for your e-book from the information you provide.

However, after uploading RBG I received an error message via email from D2D. My book was blocked from being distributed because I inadvertently hit the public domain button when uploading my file. I followed the instructions, went back and made the correction – nothing changed. My book was still blocked.

I sent an email message explaining my dilemma on June 1. Two days later after receiving no response I tried to de-list my book. It wouldn’t go away. I then decided to reload my book making sure to not hit the public domain button and bingo it went through and got distributed.

Now two listings for The Rocker and the Bird Girl appear on my D2D dashboard – one blocked and one published.

Compare this to Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle Direct who always resolve my issues within twenty-four hours.

Three things I didn’t bother with in this launch were Kindle Select, Kindle Scout, and Smashwords Pre-order. These highly touted services have generated nothing whatsoever  in response for me.

My email list continues generate response and I’m getting quite creative with MailChimp about using  free copies to increase the membership, like using Instafreebie’s one month free introductory offer. Make sure you click the option to have Instafreebie members “opt in” by giving up their email address for a free book.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

Websites links to sites referenced in this blog.

Link to become an ART member http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com/

Inkitt http://inkitt.com/

Instafreebie https://www.instafreebie.com/

Mail Chimp https://mailchimp.com/

Smashwords http://smashwords.com/

Kindle Direct https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/

Create Space http://createspace.com/

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

 

TulipMeldIMG1_0029 copy

Authors.me – publishing and writing technology that fails to deliver

Back in November I wrote a blog entitled, Authors.me “matches manuscripts to non-existent pages, vanity press when I discovered that the platform that claims to “…connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published” had connected one of my uploaded books to publishing sites that, among other inconsistencies, didn’t even exist or wanted me to pay them to publish my book. In fact, sixty percent of Author.me “matches” didn’t actually match.

Further to that, today I received an email from one of the sites that actually did “match”, Black Rose Writing, saying they “were going to pass on Loving the Terrorist (my novel) at present”, however if I decided to self-publish to consider their imprint, Bookend Design “where (you) would work directly with the Black Rose Writing Design Team.”

I’m wondering how much business Black Rose Writing gets from submissions from authors hoping for a traditional publishing contract and then redirecting them to their self-publishing imprint, Bookend Design?

Is there no end to the scams in this industry? And what about Authors.me vetting these so-called publishers for their site?

Technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.

The latest product from Authors.me is Intelligent Editorial Analysis, “technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.”

They offered me the opportunity to test drive this product and so I uploaded the manuscript of my novel The Big Picture, A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

On a scale of 1 to 100, where a 100 most resembles a commercially viable book, my manuscript scored 85.48.

My strengths included “an elevated level of craft” because of my “measured use of adjectives like “very” ” as well as “going easy on the exclamation marks”. Weaknesses were inconsistent spelling (they don’t say what), explicit language (curse words) and the use of clichés .

This last one I’d challenge but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and I don’t plan to get bent out of shape over it since it’s all grist for the mill.

If you want to try this out it will now cost you $49. Go to

https://app.authors.me/#partner/booklife-authors

InstaFreebie bolsters Advance Reading Team E-mail list

I just finished a trial offer on Instafreebie. For those of you who are not familiar with this giveaway platform here’s how it’s described on their site:

InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways, we live our mission every day and give readers a chance to SEE IT FIRST™.InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.

Their basic program is free but I signed up for a thirty day free trial of the “Plus” program that allowed me to add subscribers to my email list. Fourteen people received an e-book edition of one of my novels and became a member of my Advance Reading Team by opting in with their email address.

A monthly subscription to this program is $20. That works out to $1.43 and e-mail.

Nope.

Here’s the site address:

https://www.instafreebie.com/plans

Deliver an hour long workshop – sell a few books

I delivered an hour long workshop on Introduction to Memoir Writing. This was in return for an opportunity to sell my books at the event. It worked, but if you factored in my time in preparation and the actual presentation I ended up subsidizing the sales.

There’s got to be easier ways to sell books. Any ideas?

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

Video book reviews of books about how to write fiction as well as the work of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

 

 

 

I spoke for an hour – flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn’t miss them).

A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don’t know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.

They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.

Here’s the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you’re considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I’ll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.

Here’s the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.

What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.

How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?

Be specific about your Goal

It’s best to be specific and not generalize – I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.

Motivation

Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more – the prestige, the power, the independence?

Conflict

These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel – the responsibility of a family, lack of time – or fear of failure?

Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don’t start with backstory – your personal history – fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.

Story structure

The story arc – begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax – the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.

Then denouement – wrap up loose ends and finish.

Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How – and answer these questions honestly

Evoke emotion – how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don’t tell the reader how you felt about the events you’re writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing – the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.

Show don’t tell

You want your reader to feel like they’re actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember exactly what was said – this is your story.

Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel. Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.

Use specifics – don’t generalize

Revision

Once you’ve written your memoir you need to put it away until it’s out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You’ll likely have lots of revisions.

Once you’ve done the re-write, you need to find as many “objective” people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.

Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.

Once you’ve done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon – free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.

Books that are helpful:

The Writer’s Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne

MyBooks032017_IMG_0006 (1)

So today I participated in my first author reading.

In this group of authors there were six readers including myself. There were two professionals who had traditionally published non-fiction books, three self-published authors including myself, and a young man who performed a slam poem and had a chap book of his work for sale.

There was maybe twenty people in the audience mostly (entirely?) made of friends of the authors. I didn’t invite any of my friends and none came.

I read second. Ten minutes for reading, five for questions.

I learned two things.

  1. I presented as well or better than any of the other five authors.
  1. You can get your book published by a well respected, traditional publisher and have it short listed for literary awards and you’re still talking to a handful of people in the basement of a library.

Considering this was my first experience giving a public reading and then sitting behind a table talking to people about my books, I’d say it was pretty much what I expected, and I actually sold some books.

If this is the road to becoming a successful author it appears to be a very long and extremely boring journey. It’s hard to believe that any time soon I’ll be sitting in a fancy ballroom, among the literary and publishing elite about to accept the $50,000 Giller Prize on national television.

Never have so many (authors) given so much (hours of toil on their books) for so little (the applause and passing interest of two dozen people).

And yet we continue to storm the beaches.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VPL - MC - New Voices - Poster - March - 2017

Further to the new direction in my writing career.

Okay, so you’re saying my writing career had no direction before so how can I have a new one?

Well, maybe having no direction is a direction.

Too Zen for you?

How about: If you write a book and nobody reads it have you really written a book? That one’s been driving me crazy since, well, since I wrote a book and nobody read it.

Before you? me? we? all of us? get too hung up (do people still say that?) on these esoteric ruminations let me continue.

All of my book marketing has been so far done online. I blog, I Tweet, I post on my Facebook page, I send out promotional newsletters to my Advance Reading Team, I review books, I’ve even gone so far as to join and contribute to online reading/writing groups.

And it’s got me_______. (You fill in the blank)

This direction(?) has been macro – my books are available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Library Direct, OverDrive and a few more in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and India. They’re available digitally as epub, mobi, pdf, online reader and more, suitable to most reading devices including your cellphone as well as in paperback in the UK, USA and Canada.

My new direction will be micro – I’ll sell actual books to real people face to face.

My first experience with this will be on March 27, 2017 at the Vancouver Public Library where I’ll be reading my work along with five other writers in their “New Voices” series. (How after seven years, seven novels and two plays I can be considered a “new voice” says something – what I’m not sure.)

The event is from 7 to 8:30 pm and our host will even provide a table for us to display and sell our books. I don’t know about the rest of the participants, but I’m taking advantage of the table and might even break off from my reading prematurely if I see someone in the audience interested in the merchandise.

Having been a salesman all my life I’m not the least bit intimidated.

So, I’ve crunched the numbers taking into consideration the price of my books, the exchange rate, shipping and tax and if I sell a book for $15 it’s $4 less than it can be purchased from Amazon and I can still make some money.

Enough, I hope,  to at least cover the outrageous cost of parking downtown.

This is marginally better than selling my books at a flea market or garage sale, but if the world doesn’t want to buy them maybe the neighbourhood does.

I’m not afraid of taking chances, going in a new direction, and maybe, likely, failing. I never know where things will lead what’s important to me is to keep moving forward.

Well, at least to keep moving.

One thing’s for certain, if I do nothing, that’s what will happen.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

springbud_img_0018

This is my canned interview (you ask the questions and you answer them) on Smashwords, one of the self-publishing sites where my books are available https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Anyway, I finally updated it and thought you might want to take a look at it. It begins with this question:

What motivated you to become an indie author?

I became an indie author because I couldn’t get traditional publishers to publish my work.

That’s probably the reason most writers became indie authors.

I published my first novel, Saving Spirit Bear in 2010 with an E-publisher after my attempts with traditional publishing houses had failed. At that time E-Book publishers were on the rise, hungry for content and they were eager for at least two more books form me. Over the next two years they published Loving the Terrorist and Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients to complete my ECO-WARRIOR series.

Environmental fiction (Eco-fi) proved not to be a big seller with them, their catalogue being geared more to erotica, werewolves, vampires, and erotic werewolves and vampires. My stories were contemporary romances with a subplots that addressed an important environmental issue.

Since sales were not exactly stellar with my E-publisher and my contract with them was restrictive as to how I could promote these books I decided to investigate self-publishing for my next novel, The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic if my attempts at acquiring a traditional publisher failed.

They did, and so I became an indie author.

Since then I have self-published three more novels: Forest – Love, Loss, Legend, Abandoned Dreams and The Local Rag and two plays: Harry’s Truth and End of the Rope. When my contract ended with my E-publisher I yanked my first three novels and re-released them as self-published works. Have they done better? No, but they haven’t done worse and it’s been more fun.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT BEING AN INDIE AUTHOR? Glad you asked. I can offer promotions, sales, giveaways – I have total control over marketing my work. No sales, but still total control. And I like the creative aspect of publishing – the page design, the cover design, choosing fonts, all that stuff.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT BEING AN INDIE AUTHOR? There are now too many of us and unfortunately most of us don’t write well, and that’s putting it mildly. So for you, the reader, it’s almost impossible to tell if an indie author is worth reading or just a waste of $3.99 (the price of my e-books). I know this because I make a point of reviewing the work of indie authors (see my YouTube channel Not Your Friend, Not Your Family Book Reviews)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

This is frustrating not only for you but for me and it’s only going to get worse. With no gatekeepers and so many sites making it easy for anyone to publish anything, self-published, indie authors have lost all credibility.

To be an indie author now is to be a joke.

This state of affairs has made me rethink my role as an author – indie or otherwise.

I love to write, I love the research that goes into developing my characters, plots and settings, but I also want to connect to readers. The likelihood of this happening, of making this connection with readers in any significant way for an indie author is virtually nil.

After seven years, and seven novels and two plays I’m going back to the old fashion way. I submitted my last manuscript, East Van Saturday Night – Four short stories and a Novella to a traditional publisher and am now waiting for a response. If I get rejected, and I likely will, I’ll send it to another one, and another one and so on.

I don’t need to self publish to enjoy the writing and the research and this method of getting my work out there is not fulfilling my other need – connecting to you, the reader, in a meaningful way.

So it’s back to the future for this author.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

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Smashwords 2017 Read an E-book Week Promotion

March 5 to 11

Thousands of free and discounted E-books

Authors and Publishers enroll now at

https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos

Promotional catalogue at

https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1)

My free E-book as part of the promotion, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515038

Other discounts from my bibliography at

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

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