Posted in books, publishing, self publishing, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

#AuthorChat with @TS_Krupa

Last week I was able to try something a little different!

https://blab.im/ts-krupa-authorchat-with-delsheree-gladden” target=”_blank”>TS Krupa, author of “The Ten Year Reunion,” invited me to chat on a new-ish platform called Blab. The neat thing about this is that you get audio and video, split-screen, as you watch the chat session. It was so much fun!

The replay of the chat is stored on the site and available to watch at any time!

https://blab.im/ts-krupa-authorchat-with-delsheree-gladden

author chat

Posted in ebooks, publishing

Google Play: God of eBooks? I think not.

Amazon gets a lot of crap for their relations with indie authors at times. In my personal dealings with Amazon, they’ve done a great job of helping me when I need help, fixing things that get screwed up, and answering questions. I don’t love every single thing about Amazon and how it works in relation to ebook publishing, but I’ve had a very good experience with them.

Play StoreEnter Google Play…

I feel like I should follow that up with a “dun, dun, dun” because the experience I just had with them certainly wasn’t pleasant nor the kind of thing that would lead me to recommend their service to, well, anyone.

What drove me to Google Play?

Many of my Wattpad readers aren’t in the US. In fact, a hefty majority of them are not. Not everyone can get on Amazon and order books. The Play store is easier for some of them to use and several mentioned their parents had set up monthly allowances for them on the Play store and they could buy my books there if only they were available. So, I went on a search to figure out how to add my books to the Play store.

That seriously took forever. The setup when I first looked into it was ridiculously complicated and the system was pretty buggy. I gave up after a while. Recently though, I got asked again if my books were on the Play store and re-investigated. Surprisingly, the platform had improved enough that I could at least get through the process of adding all my books.

Done, right?

Not quite.

The last few months I’ve noticed my sales figures on Amazon dropping bit by bit. That happens pretty much every summer, so I didn’t think much of it at first. But it kept dropping.

This summer has been super busy for our family so I wasn’t paying great attention to what was going on with my books on Amazon until I went in to setup and price my Aerling Box Set and realized several of my books were being pretty steeply discounted on Amazon.

Given that I hadn’t changed the price on any other platform for Amazon to price match, I wondered what on earth was going on? I shot off an email to Amazon asking what the deal was, and as always they sent me back a quick reply saying the book in question was currently discounted more than $1 (That’s a lot in ebooks) on…you guessed it…Google Play store.

So, of course, my next online stop was my Play account to figure out how the price had gotten changed. Hacker? Kids playing around when I left my computer on? Magic?

Question MarkThe answer…?

Google Play Store itself. Yep. They apparently think of themselves as the GOD of ebook publishing. Every single one of my books that wasn’t already free had been discounted between 0.50 and $1. You can bet I was pissed. A quick internet search and a Facebook post brought back some interesting answers.

Buried inside the user agreement for the Play store it says, Play gets to price your content however it wants. You can set your own price, sure, but they’re going to ignore it. Thinking, surely that can’t be true, because what kind of company tells their content producers that sure you can sell your stuff with us, but we get to pick the price and you just have to live with it even if it negatively affects your sales with other merchants?

Surely not, right?

Surely YES.

When I opened up a chat session with customer service and put the question about the discounting straight to them, their answer was, “WE’RE GOOGLE. WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT.”

Okay, that wasn’t the exact wording, but it was indeed the answer to my question. NO they would not change the price back. NO they would not compensate for royalties lost because Amazon price matched them. NO they didn’t care that this might be an adverse effect of their pricing policy. NO. Just NO.

My answer to them?

NO

See ya later Google!

I pulled all my books as soon as I closed the chat and I will no longer be offering any of my books on the Play store or any platform that so blatantly disregards and takes advantage of the people providing them with content. I’m far from the only person who’s had to deal with this–as I found out after posting the question on Facebook–and I won’t be the last.

I know I’m not the kind of author who can say, DON’T sell your books on Google Play and suddenly everyone will abandon it, but I help authors get started in indie or hybrid publishing fairly often. I teach publishing and writing class at our local community college–which I know isn’t a huge deal–but you can bet I will never again include Play as a legitimate and worthwhile publishing platform in my recommendations or classes.

Thank you for the lesson learned Google Play.

Posted in publishing, query letter

Writing a Query Letter: Part 1

The query writing process incorporates some of the most frustrating aspects of publishing.

But…it’s necessary no matter what publishing option you choose

Typewriter illustrationWhat is a query letter?

According to Jane Friedman, the CEO and co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media, this is the definition:

To seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query is so much of a sales piece that you should be able to write it without having written a single word of the manuscript.

In other words, it’s your pitch to agents, publishers, and readers.

Query Letter Basics

◦ONE PAGE

◦Pitch to “sell” your book

◦Professional letter

◦First impression

◦Book MUST be finished!

But First…

How to sift through the billion search results to find an agent to query?

Blond Business WomanQuery Tracker

Agent Query

Publisher’s Marketplace

Preditors and Editors

Dark Markets (Short Stories/Mags)

◦Agent Interviews

◦Be as SPECIFIC as possible

◦Social Media Stalking 😉

Nest week I’ll be discussing the parts of a query letter in detail, or if you want the full lecture now, check it out out on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast now.

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

Posted in publishing

Publishing Primer: Publishers Part Two

Today we’ll be discussing some of the disadvantages of working with a publisher. To find the post discussing the advantages, click HERE.

So, let’s talk why you might not want to work with a publisher. With every publishing track there are negatives and positives.


bb5f5-clock2balarm2bclockTime

Publisher’s timetable
6 months to one year +
Bigger publisher = slower
Sequels or other books may be delayed to accommodate other authors
Publishers have to prioritize (money is a big deciding factor)


c4223-robotcartoonMarketing

Majority of the marketing (time and cost) will fall to you
Small publishers have limited budgets
Large publishers have larger budgets, but it’s funneled to large projects
Results of marketing (time and money) is split with publisher


Rope 2Loss of Control

3-5 years is not uncommon (may be less)
Lose ability to post or publish your work in any other capacity
Book production is up to your publisher’s discretion. You may be asked for input, but the final decision is theirs
Future works may automatically fall under the control of your publisher as well\


Dollar SignMoney

Royalty rates TO THE AUTHOR vary
Large publisher: 5-25% (5-15 on print, 25 on ebooks)
Small publisher: 30-40% (all formats)
Hybrid publisher: 40-50% (ebook only)
Royalties help publishers recoup the initial expenses
This can be a large percentage of money the author will never see


Choosing whether or not to work with a publisher is just as important and choosing a publisher. Research is key!

Posted in publishing

Publishing Primer: Publishers

What does it mean to have a publisher? Are you better off with one or without one?

DeathtoStock_Creative Community9What is a publisher?

This is a more difficult question to answer than you might think!

Later on, we’ll discuss the different types of publishers, but for now, let’s start with the basics:

A publisher is a person/company that issues books/journals/etc. for sale.

Prep your manuscript for publishing.

Other aspects depend on the particular publisher.

Dollar SignWhat are the advantages to having a publisher?

Cost
A reputable publisher should NEVER ask the author for money.
What costs are publishers fronting?
Editing: $500-600
Cover design: $100-600.
Formatting: $100-300

Time
Editing, formatting, design all take time away from writing
The author is free to pursue other interests like writing or marketing
Setting up a book for publishing also takes time

Expanded Distribution/Marketing Options
Publishers can get into places that authors often can’t
EX: book signings at chain stores, special programs, “in stock,” events, etc.
High volume production = better deals from printers or events

iStock_000023280434LargeHelp
Teamwork
More creditability (Sometimes)
Answers to questions

Marketing
Varies GREATLY
Smaller publishers = greater amount of marketing
Your success = their success
Larger publishers = bigger budgets and marketing departments
Some of the costs of marketing will be taken on by the publisher

Next time we’ll discuss some of the disadvantages of publishers.

If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of Agents, you can find part ONE here and part TWO here.

Posted in agents, publishing

Publishing Primer: Agents

What is a literary agent?Blond Business Woman

A literary agent represents authors and submits to publishers and editors on their behalf

  • They also:
    • Negotiate Contracts
      Promote
      Negotiate contracts outside publishing
      Mediate

What are the benefits of having an agent?

  • Open Doors

    Avoid the slush file
    Pre-vetted status
    Bypass slow steps
    Agent only options

  • šKnowledge

    š“In the know”

    šDepends on how good the agent is and how good their contacts are

    šAccess to specific information

  • Mediation

    Navigate disputes
    Knowledgeable in: publishing contracts, foreign rights, media rights, royalty negotiations
    Disputes are common occurrence
    **Getting a lawyer involved is sometimes necessary

  • Advice

    Guidance for new authors
    Knows the book market and current trends
    Marketing opportunities
    Timing

What are the drawbacks of having an agent? 702f1-girl2bwith2bbooks

  • Money

    Legitimate agents will NEVER ask you for money
    Do get a cut of the royalties
    Domestic sales: 10-15%
    Foreign sales: fixed rate of 20%
    Film/media sales are usually negotiated separately

  • Time

    Querying can be SLOW
    Once you have an agent, querying starts all over again with publishers
    How long?
    A few months to several years
    It may not happen
    There should be a time limit in your contract

  • Control

    Once you sign, publishing options may be more limited
    Submissions are handled directly by your agent
    Additional work you write may automatically come under the agent’s control
    Variations of your book that are produced (film, graphic novel, audio, translation, etc.) may entitle your agent to a cut

Stop back by soon for more discussion on Publishers, Agents, and Publishing in this new Publishing Primer series.

Posted in publishing

A Ten Year Journey

Crowd at ConcertI think two of the most common questions I get when I do public events are 1) How long does it take to write a book? …and… 2) How did you get you first book published?

Question #1 always makes me chuckle a bit because the answer varies depending on the book. Question #2 is kind of a long story.

So, I thought I’d share the answer two both questions today in regards to my very first book, Escaping Fate.

How long did it take me to write it? Well…I started writing Escaping Fate when I was fifteen, back when I knew next to nothing about writing and thought I was really good at it. I wasn’t. Anyway, a lecture in Mrs. Hume’s history class about Aztecs performing human sacrifices really got me interested and I started researching. Back then, that involved digging out an encyclopedia and scouring the library for resources since my parents weren’t big fans of the internet at the time.

The first version was super short. It fit inside a chunky 6×4 inch paper notebook. Yeah. It was short. Eventually, I started transferring it to my first laptop, which was a brick and weighed a ton, and I started adding to the story. Actually, I removed an entire character and rewrote the story with only the MC, Arrabella, and her grandfather. That took a while. A long while. REWRITE #1.fdd11-escapingfatefront

Some time later, I met my future hubby and found out he was into writing too. Don’ tell him I told you that, though. He likes to keep his writing on the DL even though it’s really good. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband. Seriously, it’s good stuff, and if he ever actually lets anyone outside me and his brothers read it, you’ll agree.

Anyway…my hubby and I chatted about writing and when I mentioned nixing poor Tanner from the book, he talked me into putting him back in. After all, every story needs a little romance, right? REWRITE #2.

Years later, after getting married and having two kids and doing some college here and there, I pulled Escaping Fate back out, reread it, decided it was still missing something, or several somethings, and went back to work ironing things out, changing POV and tense, adding in more story elements to keep things interesting, and who knows what else. REWRITE #3. 

40bf3-soulstonefrontcoverv2By the time I was ready to submit it to agents and publishers, I was 25-ish. Yep, it took me ten years to finish this sucker. And guess what happened? Zip. That’s right, not a single agent or publisher was interested in it. I had no publishing credits, no social media presence, nothing at all that would convince an agent or publisher to take me on.

I didn’t give up, though. I decided to publish it on my own. At the time, I had no clue how to market, but I learned how to format for print and ebooks, painting a picture of an Aztec god for the cover art, and put together a pretty good book. Escaping Fate is a book that will always be close to my heart because of the journey it was to share it with readers. Even though it’s not a big seller for me, it got my toe in the door, forced me to learn a lot about writing, publishing, and marketing, and put me on the road to some pretty cool things.

Escaping Fate was published in 2010. Since then I’ve published 15 other books, including a sequel to Escaping Fate that I never planned to write (Soul Stone), have made the USA Today Bestseller list as part of a wildly popular box set, got a pretty good review from Kirkus, and have more than one book in a top 100 category on Amazon. Even if Escaping Fate is never one of my more popular books, it was the first step. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get yourself moving in the right direction.

Connect with me online:

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