Friends and family not an asset for this writer

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When it comes to my writing and friends and family I’ve established clear boundaries. Here they are:

– I don’t talk about my writing even if asked. Those enquiring are usually only doing so to be polite and aren’t really interested. In any case, listening to someone talk about their writing is profoundly boring – even for me and I’m a writer.

– I don’t solicit reviews or ratings from them. I try to avoid even the faintest hint of conflict of interest in the support and criticisms I get.

– I very rarely give them my books. If they’re interested they can buy one.

I once went to a birthday party  where a friend’s partner had rented a gallery and had a show professionally mounted of her paintings. Needless to say, most of those attending bought some of her art. She was thrilled.

This to me is not a measure of artistic merit. I didn’t buy anything,  in fact, I was surprised and not a little offended. This was hardly better than  a Tupperware party.

I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to take advantage of my friends and family. I don’t want to demean myself and my work.

The independent publishing industry is rife with nepotism, gimmicks, and chicanery – all geared toward reaching bestseller status. I don’t care if I’m a bestseller, but I do want to become a better writer. I think these practices prevent that from happening by creating a false sense of accomplishment.

You think you’re good, but your not. You’re delusional.

I don’t know if this stand has hurt my sales or not. If it has it hasn’t been significant because I’m just not that popular – with friends or family.

I’ve also developed guidelines for social media.

I don’t solicit followers on Twitter, don’t “friend” people on Facebook, and don’t appeal to viewers to “like” or “subscribe” to my YouTube channel.

I do encourage comments and criticisms which I faithfully respond to and hopefully learn something from.

Amazingly, some people chose to follow me which is gratifying because it definitely is not reciprocated.

I had one expert tell me “social media is not for you”. Really? Maybe just not her kind of social media, the kind where friends and followers are little more than meaningless numbers and bare no resemblance of reality.

I still believe a social media following can be built by someone who has something interesting and original to say regardless of whether he’s a friend, follower or subscriber.

Later this month I’ll be waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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“Publishing experts” charge big bucks for what you can do yourself free

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I recently received a press release from the professional public relations firm ESMI entitle How to Price an E-Book.

The release is written by Kim Staflund and is promoting her two books How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, and How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price!.

So here’s an indie author who claims both her books have been Amazon bestsellers telling other indie authors or those considering becoming indie authors how to sell their books and make money. What’s new about that? Libraries must have and entire bibliographic classification complete with it’s own Dewey Decimal code taking up considerable shelf space about this very topic. And now Kim Staflund has published two more. So what?

I guess it’s the hyperbole in the titles as well as unsubstantiated claims and misleading statements that gets my blood boiling.

Staflund claims her POD books became best sellers on Amazon priced at $19.99. Here she muddies the water a bit – these are paperbacks not e-books and the press release is entitled “How to Price an E-book. So what are we talking about here, e-books or paperbacks or is she purposely being misleading?

According to Staflund, her books reached bestseller status because “of their quality content combined with using various online and traditional marketing techniques—not because of low pricing.”

There doesn’t seem to be an optimum pricing point for POD books, but this statement contradicts all the information I’ve seen from Amazon and Smashwords regarding the pricing of e-books. Both these sites have data complete with graphs that show the optimum price to maximize sales and profits. Since both these companies work on a royalty basis, they don’t make money unless you make money, it’s in their interest for your book to sell.

Amazon says, considering you’re a nobody, the optimum price for your e-book on their site is $2.99. A lower price won’t increase sales, but it will diminish profits. A higher price won’t increase profits because it will diminish sales. At Smashwords the optimum price is $3.99.

There’s all kinds of gimmicks (like buying your own books) that might spike your sales for a very short period, but over time these are the prices that work and they should know.

Staflund goes even further with this incredulous remark:

“It will likely take an author forever to make back the money it cost to properly publish a book if the retail price is set at $2.99 per copy. Additionally, such a low price truly devalues content.”

Even the most delusional author must be aware nobody cares, the reader or the publisher, if they’ve spent the last ten years of their life writing a book and, even at minimum wage, it cost them a quarter of a million dollars in work hours. The truth is in this free enterprise system the value of something is the maximum price it will sell for – consistently.

Furthermore, if saying a low price devalues the content of your book what does having no sales at a higher price say? And, oh yeah, who decides if the content has any value in the first place?

So who is Kim Staflund and why is she saying these things?

Staflund’s the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, where she “works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, e-books, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author (sic) and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade.” (This, from someone who uses a public relations firm to help her promote her own books.)

She further claims to have “a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.”

I checked out her website and it is very similar to those of Amazon and Smashwords in that it accumulates all the information necessary from an author, including a properly formatted manuscript, that is necessary to publish a book with today’s technology.

Once Amazon and Smashwords have this data they can proceed to publish your book on a royalty split basis. You can purchase expertise at any point along the way including the formatting of the manuscript, designing a book cover, and additional marketing services, but you don’t have to.

If you’re patient and persevere you can do it yourself.

For books, from 201 to 300 pages (max. 90,000 words, the category my novel The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic would fall into) Polished Publishing Group offers: two (2) ISBN numbers; copy editing; cover design, proofreading; a hard proof; both paperback and e-book formats; book signing; two-year online distribution term; print-ready files returned to you.

The price is $4,750.00 cdn.

There’s nothing illegal or immoral about what Staflund is doing. If you don’t have the time, inclination or the computer savvy to navigate through self-publishing sites then there are countless “experts” like Staflund that will do it for you for a fee.

What I find objectionable is her claims that she has special expertise on How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price and further more that she can show you How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! There are just too many variables to be able make these bombastic claims.

Be wary of so called experts that make unsubstantiated claims and charge you a hefty fee for what you can do yourself for nothing. Today, having 20 years of experience in book publishing is worth almost nothing. The industry is evolving so quickly what you learned today is worthless tomorrow.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

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 (now in paperback). http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

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