Archive for the ‘Promoting Your Book’ Category

Marketing Expert and best selling author Penny Sansevieri

Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.

LP: Tell us about your background and how and why you started Author Marketing Experts.

PS: I started the company because I’m an author and I wanted to give authors a company that understood them, knew the publishing industry and knew what they wanted.

Before I started AME I was in corporate America, working in marketing – but nothing as exciting as marketing authors. Then I got laid off not once but twice. Two companies I worked with shut down, I took it as a sign and started AME. I guess I am what you call an accidental entrepreneur.

LP: What services does AME offer?

PS: Our focus is on promotion, reaching potential buyers and readers. There are a lot of phases to getting a book out there, from editing to publishing, but we’re the go-to for the exposure.

LP: What can AME do for an author that they can’t do for themselves?

PS: What makes my team special is that we know what works and what doesn’t. For a lot of authors who try to tackle marketing on their own it’s a lot of trial and error. I’m not saying we can knock it out of the park 100% of the time, no company can do that, there’s a lot out of our control, but we really do know what strategies work for which types of books and which types of readers. We also have a lot of boots on the ground at any one time, pushing a book from multiple channels, no single person can make that happen on their own.

LP: Okay let’s talk about price. What are the different packages you offer and what do they cost? What can an author get for their money?

PS: First let me say our price ranges have varied somewhat through the years, to some degree they change based on what’s working in the industry, what we can offer our clients and what’s getting authors solid results over and over again. That being said, right now for the types of strategies and approaches we’re really seeing making an impact, the starting budgets are around $1500-$2000. They go up from there based on needs.

And for what they can expect, honestly we customize each campaign for the book and author, rarely are there two campaigns that are exactly alike in our recommendations, but our core strategies usually include guaranteed reviews, Amazon Search Optimization, eBook-specific promotions, and some media pitching. Our goal is to cover as many channels as possible. So we don’t encourage our clients to put all their investment in media for example.

LP: Tell us about two author success stories that AME was involved in – and walk us through what you did for them and what the results were in terms of exposure, sales etc . . .

PS: Some years back, we worked on a book called Cookin’ for Love. by Sharon Boorstin. The book was self-published and turned down by the author’s traditional publisher because he thought that the characters in the book (who were over 50) were too old. So we worked with the author to promote the heck out of the book. We pitched Boomer bloggers and we told them the *why* of why she wound up self-publishing the book, which engaged then even further and fired up her reader base. She wound up doing so well with the book, Lifetime came after her for a movie deal.

The Kennedy Detail, with the former Kennedy Secret Service seemed like a slam dunk. I mean, it’s Kennedy, right? So we had a lot of blogger pitching on this campaign – I mean a ton. But once we started pitching we found out quickly that most of the bloggers only want to talk conspiracy theories (most of them anyway, and we weren’t pitching that specific market). So instead we turned to author events – and the two former Secret Service, including Clint Hill who was the agent who threw himself onto Kennedy’s car when he was shot, toured the country. We often had standing room only crowds. At Warwick’s Books in La Jolla, we had almost 300 people trying to get into that tiny store.

In regards to sales, we don’t track those. No marketing company should because they can’t take credit, or blame, for sales on their own. Too many factors affect sales, a lot of them are established before we join the party and many we have no control over, like competition for example.

LP: You also write for the Huffington Post – how did that come about and what are some of the topics you write about?

It was offered to several us, by Arianna Huffington directly at a publishing event I was speaking at – they were looking to build their book and publishing track. I write about publishing but mostly marketing.

I try to focus on topics authors can run with the day they read the article. So easy to implement marketing strategies, strategies that are proven to drum up more sales, warnings and guidelines that can save authors a lot of headaches. People don’t have a lot of time and I respect that, so I want to be a reliable source for go-to help.

LP: You also teach a self-publishing course at NYU – what is the most important thing you tell the students who take your course?

That publishing is a business – yes, it’s creative and exciting and all of that, but at the end of the day it’s a business. You’ve got to make decisions that are business minded. It’s pretty easy to let the ego guide you, I mean in terms of what might look pretty on paper, but be a bad choice for the book. An example of this might be a full page ad in the New York Times. I love NYT but book ads in newspapers tend to only do well for authors with big platforms – like James Patterson, etc.

Image: hopkins.typepad.com

LP: In your experience – what are some big no-nos that you see authors do online.

PS: I hate to say there are so many, but back to what I said about it being a lot of trial and error, that’s really a big part of doing it on your own. But a handful of things that we see over and over again that can make a big impact are: pricing your book too high; not creating engaging copy for your Amazon page; not having a home base, be it a basic website or just a well-run Facebook page; and not engaging with readers. The biggest mistake an author can make is just sitting back and assuming because the book is for sale, people will buy it. Nothing is that easy, and certainly not in this market, where over 4,500 books are being published every single day.

LP: What are three things that you believe every newbie or struggling author ABSOLUTELY needs to do EVERY SINGLE DAY.

PS: Reach out to fans and potential readers. This is where social media comes in handy. You may not love it, but chances are your buyer market loves it. And maybe your readers aren’t on Facebook, maybe they’re on Twitter – figure it out, know your demographics.

Don’t spin your wheels doing things that don’t matter. This is more of a don’t, but honestly it means take that time and put it into something that works. If you only get 5 visitors to your blog every month, don’t kill yourself writing blog posts. Take that time and research bloggers to pitch yourself to, or spend more time on social media you know is popular for your market, or finish that next book! Anything productive is better than something unproductive.

You don’t have to read every marketing blog or every success newsletter, but find a few that fit your style, that motivate you, and commit to not only reading them, but implementing strategies you learn about. But make sure you make it more than just busy work, this is not busy = productive. This is about making your next book release that much better!

LP: Bonus Question: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

PS: Well so this is like picking my favorite child, that’s pretty hard. Honestly, I love authors who work it. We have worked through several books with Leslie Hachtel – she is tireless and she gets it. If she isn’t writing she’s looking for a way to promote her books. Tawny Weber is another one, and Sarah Andre – all of these gals are just “out there” and pushing their books. I could go on, because we’re so lucky to work with so many authors who never let a “no” get in the way of their success. Honestly, those are my favorite authors because these days, anyone can write a book – it takes a lot more effort to get it seen and read.

Contact Author Marketing Experts via their website or connect with Penny Sansevieri via facebook, twitter, @Bookgal linkedin

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us on twitter.

Oh, you say you know all about online promotion but have you really done AS MUCH as you can to promote your book and your author name? Dare I say it – your BRAND?

Here is a list of 5 things you can do that will only cost you TIME not money in order to promote your books.

1. Launch a facebook page – and invite all of your friends to like it. If you want to spend some money – you can run a sponsored ad promoting it. My advice – don’t set up a page for one book or series or for every book you release – that is tiresome and annoying to your friends and fans. Just set up a page with YOUR NAME AUTHOR X and use that page to promote YOU and any other author or book you want to talk about.

2. Post REGULARLY on YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE. At least 3 times a week. Post interesting content – not just about your book being released – but talk about interesting aspects of your book – like a story about your research on the poison used as the murder weapon in your latest book.  Original content. That should be your goal. Invite other authors to your page – do exchanges with other authors – where you interview them on your page and they interview you on theirs. Why? To get more readers and likes and build your audience.

3. Start putting up videos. You can now go live on facebook with live videos – so you can set up a live “party” and invite your readers – have fun – do giveaways (okay you might have to spend some money there) but even if it’s just to play a game or chat with your readers- they will enjoy it and so will you! You can make it a Q and A live with your readers- they can ask anything they want about your books and characters.

4. When you post on twitter – don’t just post links to your books – or talk about a sale – post funny pics or engage in some fun hashtag games – that will broaden your scope and reach on twitter.

5. Set up a regular blog or newsletter and share “freebies” or more detailed in depth content that you can link on your facebook page.

Why is this necessary? Why should you put all of this effort in?

It increases your profile on google. When I google the name of an author – if I see current links and plenty of them – then- that author will stand out in my mind. Even if they are not a bestselling author. It is IMPRESSIVE to see a big google list of links about an author. Trust me on this.

When I go on twitter and see only “buy my book” links on an author’s page – I think “dullsville” – I want to see some fun engagement there to tell me that the author has a sense of humour and has something to offer other than asking me to buy her/his book.

When I visit an author’s facebook page and they haven’t posted  in a month – I think that author isn’t serious about his/or her career and doesn’t really care about her/his readers.

These are all things that take time – yes – but if you establish a routine around doing them – they can all help you achieve your goal of building your audience reach and creating an online “footprint” that will enable potential readers to see YOU to see how interesting and fascinating you are. To see how much YOU engage with the world. So keep that in mind when you ponder why you should even bother with blogging or posting on facebook or twitter. Think about the “SOCIAL CURRENCY” that you are generating by your PRESENCE online.

Think about how the public views you according to what YOU put out there. And if you only post once every six months – it won’t do you any good. You will be buried and forgotten. Think about every blog post you write or facebook video you post or funny story you relate on your facebook page – and think about how all of that adds up to create a rich and colourful quilt that keeps expanding. Think about the people who will be coming across even one of those “quilt squares” and then delving deeper into YOUR WORLD because they want to know more about you. I do that all the time! When I come across something interesting that an author has posted. And if I do that – you can bet other readers do it too.

Got it?  Good!

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Something I’ve noticed over the years is the difference between successful authors and authors who sell only a handful of books a year. If you want to get an idea of how you’re selling – check your ranking on amazon and barnes and noble. But shouldn’t your publisher be doing all the work of selling your book? Nope. There isn’t a publisher IN EXISTENCE big or small who does that. Your publisher has to promote many different titles a month (both older and new releases). Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOUR books. Your publisher has to worry about many different authors. Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOURSELF. If you are consistently in the 1 million or higher ranking, you need to re-evaluate what you are doing (or not doing) to sell books. Here are a few key qualities that I have seen that successful authors have in common. I call them THE THREE Cs: COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY, CLEVERNESS.

COMMITMENT: Successful authors are committed, not only to their writing craft but to promoting their work. After they release a new title, they don’t just forget about it and move on to the next book. No way. They have a plan in place to promote that book. That plan – should be in place well BEFORE your book comes out. One year before. One year? But won’t people get tired of hearing about your book a year in advance of it coming out? You’re not LITERALLY talking about your book every single day. USE COMMON SENSE. You are BUILDING your identity on facebook so that when your book DOES come out, you will have lots of friends and followers who know you and (hopefully) like you. People that you have made a CONNECTION with.

Let’s say you plan on promoting your book on facebook. Terrific! BUT, now here’s the hard part: What is your commitment going to be? How often should you post? What should you post about? How can you engage your friends and followers? If you don’t have enough friends and followers, how can you get more? As an author, you have to be asking yourself these questions WELL IN ADVANCE and you have to answer them. Ask other authors. Read books or articles on social networking. Figure out what you want to say and say it. READ. OBSERVE. RESEARCH.

But isn’t that a lot of work? Sure it is. But if you want to sell books, then you have to do it. Or, hire someone who knows how to do it.

But isn’t this just common sense? Of course it is. But if you already know this then why aren’t you doing it? The answer is because YOU ARE NOT COMMITTED.

CONSISTENCY: The most successful authors are the authors who are consistent. They post on a regular basis  – not just once or twice a month. They ALWAYS have something to share. Some authors talk about their relationships, kids, even their health issues. While others like to share silly stuff about their pets or funny things they find online. The key is to share consistently but don’t bombard your followers with the same BUY MY BOOK post every day. Be creative. Have fun. Share who you truly are. But do it on a regular basis. Why? Because the key word in social networking is the word SOCIAL. It means “taking part”. Engaging with other people. Being sociable. Not hiding in an ivory tower.

A lot of authors have “regular” features on their facebook pages. What does that have to do with selling books you might ask? Well, social networking isn’t just “HEY MY BOOK IS ON SALE”. It’s about ENGAGING, COMMENTING, and SHARING. And you have to do it on a REGULAR BASIS. Some authors have a Question of the Week, Hunk of the Week, Cute Critter of the Week, Funny Video of the Week . . . You get the point right? Other authors run monthly contests where they give away a free signed copy of their book or some nifty “swag” that they got at various conferences. OR they go out and buy something really cool that has a connection to their book/series and they run a contest that way. How do you promote your contest? Some authors purchase sponsored ads on facebook. Or they ask their fellow author friends if they can share the post. They share the contest info on facebook group pages – spreading it out and posting on various groups every few hours, every. single. day. Some cross-promote on other blogs and on twitter to get the word out. The point is to SET UP A PLAN and STICK TO IT. If the plan isn’t getting you sales then re-evaluate every few weeks to see how you can improve/change that.

CLEVERNESS: It’s hard to be clever. But the most successful authors are just that. They come up with fun and creative ways to engage their readers and they always keep it fresh. Whether it’s running contests, or posting fun content, or setting up newsletters that reward subscribers with free, original content, or making funny videos that go viral, or coming up with a fun way of branding themselves, or working with other authors on unique cross promotional contests or giveaways – they put their creativity to work – not just in their writing – but in selling. Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and think outside your box. Be a little daring. Take a chance on doing something different. Approach some other authors about setting up a YouTube channel and make regular videos that you can post online. Have fun and keep trying even if you flop the first few times. Just keep thinking and doing. Eventually you will hit your creative stride and come up with something that works really well for you. The point is – don’t just sit back and expect others to do it for you. Do it yourself. Motivate yourself. And if you find it overwhelming to go it alone – then team up with other authors and go for it. You have nothing to lose, and so very much to gain.

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

Never under-estimate the positive power of romance authors. Or the laughs, when they get together. Romance author Ashlyn Chase interviews her friend and fellow romance author and writing partner Dalton Diaz:

AC: So, Dalton, what are you working on these days? I know we have a mutual project, but that’s nonfiction. I’ll bet you also have another bunch of characters in your head that are chattering away at you too.

DD: I have a new series called Hotel Rendezvous, that takes place at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, TX. It’s about a couple who go there to celebrate their anniversary. Um, in bed. <g> The first book, Makin’ It Right, was released on March 2, 2016.

AC: You were already a member of Romance Writers of America when I got there in 2002. When did you join and why?

DD: I joined the New England chapter in 2000, after taking a local adult-ed class taught by Suzanne Brockmann. Until then, I had no idea RWA existed!

AC: Many writers have a hard time balancing family and career, and I’ve admired the way you handle it with a sense of humor. What does your family think about what you do?

DD: They tease me mercilessly. To be fair, they tease me mercilessly about everything. I have no idea where they get it from.

AC: If you couldn’t write, what would you do? I know, that’s a terrible question. I hate it too. I’m just dying to see how you handle it. (Insert evil grin here.)

Subscribe to Dalton’s newsletter for upcoming releases and re-releases.

DD: Read everything I could get my hands on and wish I could write! I seriously don’t know how to answer this question. I’ve been writing since middle school, and I can’t imagine not being able to do it anymore.

AC: What is your number one distraction?

DD: Real life. I can’t get out of my own way.

AC: I know you like to cook. Tell us how you write as if you’re dictating a recipe.

DD: LOL! I never thought of it this way, but they have a very similar process. An idea of what to cook comes to mind. I let it set for a bit, then research the main ingredients I want to combine until that gels. Then, I go for it!

All in the name of research! Dalton Diaz surrounded by a group of hunks at the Wild Wicked Weekend author and reader conference.

AC: I know the romance genre is important to you. Can you tell us why?

DD: It’s all I like to read. I’m in love with love.

AC: If you could correct one misconception about the romance genre, which one would it be?

DD: That if you write erotic romance, you can’t possibly be happily married and monogamous. It’s ridiculous. No one assumes someone who writes thrillers goes around stabbing people.

AC: Which is your favorite subgenre to write?

DD: M/F, M/M, Menage. It depends on my mood. For now, it all has to be contemporary, and it all has to contain humor.

AC: When readers ask you how long it takes to write a novel, what do you tell them? Truthfully.

DD: It takes me way longer than it should. Can’t get out of my own way, remember? How’s that for truth?

AC: Well this is been ten easy questions with my writing partner, Dalton Diaz. She’s probably going to kill me now. But before she does, I just want the world to know that she’s the reason those books we’ve written together have even seen the light of day. Each time I’ve asked for her contributions, it’s really been a cry for help. I’ve been stuck, or overwhelmed, or sometimes I just felt like I wasn’t up to the task. Not everyone is so lucky to have a person they can turn to, whose writing they love, and whose opinion they respect. I’m looking forward to writing together when I’m not desperate for help, and we can just have fun brainstorming, plotting, and perfecting a new book.

DD: Hah! Back atcha times 10!

You can connect with Dalton Diaz on facebook, twitter, google+ and via her website.  Dalton also blogs for the group blog: 69 Shades of Smut.

You can connect with Ashlyn Chase on facebook, twitter, and via her website. Ashlyn is the author of the light paranormal romance Love Spells Gone Wrong series for Lachesis Publishing.

Ashlyn Chase is also hosting a romance and reader weekend in October. It’s called the Fall In Love with New England conference. And it takes place October 14th and 15th in Manchester, New Hampshire.

 

 

 

Graphic Designer Tammy Seidick

Tammy Seidick is a graphic designer from Allentown, PA, who designs book covers, among her many talents. She has a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) and an MA (Masters in Publication Design). She’s married with two boys (ages 14 and 10) so she is busy! In her spare time she loves attending her sons’ sporting events and cuddling with her two cats while watching “too many” True Crime videos on YouTube. Welcome Tammy!

LP: Tell us how you got started in book cover design and why?

TS: My mother-in-law, the fabulous NYT Bestselling Author Kasey Michaels, decided to start self-publishing her backlist in 2010. I created her ebooks and covers, and my book cover design business has grown from there.

LP: Do you work independently or are you affiliated with a particular publishing house?

TS: I design covers for both indie authors and publishers. I work with Kensington Publishing and Open Road Media.

LP: Tell us about your process – how do you go from a “blank computer screen/canvas” to a finished cover?

TS: After consulting with the client, of course, I start with a stock image search. I download dozens of possibilities, and then, in Photoshop, I piece together a select few to form the background of the cover. Then, I add the title/author name. Sometimes I add a series logo. I send the client 2-3 comps to review. After we go through a couple rounds of revisions, I finalize the cover with hi-res images. Then, I deliver the final files to the client!

LP: Why are covers important in your opinion?

TS: A good book cover should quickly broadcast the book’s genre. It should be effortless for the reader to know what type of book is under that cover. It is the very first impression a reader has of your book and it should be professional, eye-catching and discernible at a thumbnail size.

LP: Who are some of your clients and what covers did you do for them?

TS: Some of my indie-author clients are Kasey Michaels (Everything’s Coming Up Rosie, Escapade), Lindsay McKenna (DELOS series, including Nowhere to Hide), Jill Gregory (Something Borrowed Something Blue, Never Love A Cowboy), Ruth Ryan Langan (Highland Barbarian, Duchess of Fifth Avenue), and Emelle Gamble (Molly Harper, Duets).

LP: What have you just finished – that will be out soon?

TS: Lots of romance and thriller covers for Lyrical Press (Kensington Publishing). I’m also currently working on new ebook covers for Kasey Michaels’ “Maggie Kelly” woman sleuth series. Figuring out the look for this batch of covers is a bit challenging since the books are part romance, part cozy mystery.

LP: Indie/self-publishing is very big right now – but not all indie authors hire pros for their covers ––why they should work with a professional cover designer.

TS: A few years ago, an indie author might have been able to get away with an amateur-designed cover, but not these days. Competition for readers’ eyeballs is fierce. Your reader is scrolling through dozens and dozens of book covers, and yours should visually blend with indie-published and traditionally-published books alike. Only a professional designer (or a very good amateur!) can provide that.

LP: Share with us a few of your “Oscar-worthy” golden moments – toot your own horn – about some of your accomplishments that you’re really proud of.

Cover Model Jason Aaron Bacca has been featured on more than 400 book covers

TS: Recently, cover model Jason Aaron Baca has been getting a lot of press. I’ve used his photos on a number of covers, specifically the DELOS series by Lindsay McKenna. Because of that, I’ve been lucky enough to have my covers featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune among others. Other than that fun bit, I’m always pleased when anyone who reviews my book covers says that my covers are well-targeted to the book’s audience. For a graphic designer, that’s what it’s all about — communicating a clear message to the viewer.

LP: Let’s talk costs. How much do you charge for a cover? And do you offer other services – like formatting?

TS: My book cover design costs depend a bit on what an author needs. Anyone interested can go to my website for more info: com. 🙂 I don’t offer formatting services, but I work with an awesome formatter who I can highly recommend.

LP: Who are a few of your favourite authors? What do you enjoy reading?

TS: I’ve recently re-started my horror author kick. Years ago, I read everything by Peter Straub and was greatly affected by his classic Ghost Story. I’m just about finished with it now. I wanted to see if it still scared me. (It did!) I also recently read Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives for the first time. I have pretty varied reading interests. I also recently enjoyed a non-fiction audio book, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin and a nutrition book, The China Study.

LP: Bonus: When you’re working on designing a cover –what is your go-to snack?

TS: I prefer salty snacks over sweet. My downfall is when I’m working late at night and I reach for something like tortilla chips or Cheez-Its. And I. Can’t. Stop. 🙂

Thank you Tammy for joining us today! 🙂

Tammy’s cat Ci Ci oversees all of Tammy’s work.

You can reach Tammy Seidick on her website, facebook, and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

Jess Michaels is a USA Today Bestselling Author who began writing full-time in 1999 after her supportive husband encouraged her to follow her dream. She sold her first book in 2003 and since then has published 50 books (and counting). After many years of working with both big and small publishers, Jess is on her own . . . and loving it!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing?

JM: In 2011 I did a bit of self-publishing, but coming from traditional for so long, I just wasn’t sure what I was doing. So I went back to trad after the year for another couple. In 2015, I went back to indie publishing fully and will never go back. As for why, my experiences with traditional publishing were often incredibly frustrating. In the end, no one else will care as much about me or my success than I do. And I got tired of beating my head against the wall trying to get someone else to care or put any of that supposed “big publisher muscle” behind me.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Are you happy to continue doing both or would you rather do one over the other?

As an indie author, Jess Michaels works with a professional photographer to get just the right look for her covers.

JM: The advantages of indie publishing for me are being in control of the process, being able to change my plans on the fly, getting to publish more often and not having to answer to anyone else. The disadvantages are that it’s a lot of work. LOL I probably work 80+ hours a week AND I have a full time assistant. But I’m putting that time in for ME. So it doesn’t hurt quite as much. As for the other, let me re-stress: I will NEVER go back to trad. There is not enough money in the universe.

LP: You write erotic historical romance as Jess Michaels and you’ve also written paranormal fiction under the pen name Jesse Petersen. What drew you to both genres?

JM: I actually only write as Jess Michaels. I haven’t written as Jesse Petersen for a few years now and haven’t written as Jenna Petersen (my other pen name) for almost 5. I’ve always written very, very sexy historical romance so writing erotic historical made a lot of sense. I love the Regency period, I love my fans, I love my books. I have 13 ideas in my head for the next three years of books. So I guess that genre is just my passion.

LP: How do you “put bums in seats”? When it comes to getting your name out there and selling books?

The Wicked Woodleys Series: Forbidden (Book 1)

JM: I’ve been published for over ten years, so I have a really good solid fanbase. But I’m always working to grow that through various social media promotions and also through just writing books. Books sell books. So it’s just continuing to get that work done over and over and exposing more audiences to them.

LP: You’ve published several series including THE WICKED WOODLEYS AND THE PLEASURE WARS, Why do you write series books? Tell us about your various series, and what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

JM: Romance novelists have always known the power of the series. I think I’ve ever only written two or three standalone books out of nearly 60 published. Now in my historical romances, I’m writing family series. So I don’t write one couple, multiple books, but maybe four friends or three brothers or things like that. Doing that helps the readers be more invested. They fall in love with a family rather than just one book and it drives them to buy the next one. It’s all about building desire.

Mistress Matchmaker Series: An Introduction to Pleasure (fan favourite)

LP: When you’re chatting with fans and readers, which book(s) come up again and again as fan favourites and why?

The Notorious Flynns Series: The Other Duke

JM: An Introduction to Pleasure comes up a lot, which was the first book in my Mistress Matchmaker series. People really love The Other Duke, too which was the first book in The Notorious Flynns series and my first in my return to indie, so that’s very cool!

LP: You’re a USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbies or authors who haven’t broken through yet should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

JM: I actually hit the USAToday with my third indie title of 2015 which was amazing! It’s been a goal for a long time and to do it on my own terms was joyful. As for key things: 1. Write. Write a lot. Write a lot of books. Edit. Never release a product that isn’t fully ready. But mostly write. WRITE WRITE WRITE. 2. Pick a genre and stick to it for a while. I see a lot of new authors jumping and that’s fine, except it makes it hard to catch an audience. So if you’re trying to find an audience to keep coming back, to build a base, pick something and stick to it for a while. At least 4-5 books. 3. Don’t expect overnight success. The idea of it is nice, sure, but long term success is more lucrative and satisfying. But it takes work to get there. So be ready to work.

Lords of Time Series: The Spare and the Heir

LP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

JM: My friend Jenn LeBlanc is becoming one of my favorite indie authors. She writes historical romance with interesting characters who are way out of the traditional box. It’s awesome to see someone build a career in a wheelhouse that traditional publishers would turn their nose up at.

LP: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you were starting out?

JM: To write. 🙂 Honestly, it’s the best thing you can do to learn to write and to find success in a longer term scale. Having a huge backlist helps feed my front and vice versa. It helps contribute to financial success.

LP: What do you have coming up next?

JM: The last book in my Wicked Woodleys series, SEDUCED will be out May 17. You can pre-order exclusively from iBooks right now, with the rest of the pre-orders going up in early May.

Jess Michaels’ feline bestie

LP: Bonus: cats or dogs and why?

JM: Cats! We have a beautiful cat that is my lovely, sweet angel. I adore her and I hate that she’s getting older (her partner passed away in November)

Thanks Jess for joining us today!

You can find out more about Jess Michaels’ books on her website, and you can like her page on facebook, and pinterest. You can also follow Jess on twitter and her author page on amazon.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

Cat Johnson not only has hit the New York Times bestseller list – she is a at Top 10 NYT bestseller! She is also a USA Today Bestselling author and the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review. Her contemporary romances focus on cowboys and Navy Seals. Cat’s books are so popular that Amazon invited her to create her own world on kindle. More on that later.

An “out of the box” thinker when it comes to marketing, Cat has sponsored bull riding cowboys and promoted her books using bologna?!? Check it out on her website.

Cat is known as a hybrid author – that is she is both self-published and traditionally published. She joins us today to talk about her remarkable publishing career and some fun stuff too!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing

CJ: I had some backlist books I’d gotten rights back to when the small press I’d been with sold. This was about the time that KDP and Smashwords (which distributes to Barnes & Noble and iBooks) had opened to authors to self publish. So I uploaded a few backlist books but didn’t pay much attention to them. They were shorter romantic comedy stories I’d written years before, and they’d already been out with a publisher, so I figured any sales I made was money I didn’t have before and I basically ignored those stories. I was too busy writing new cowboy and military romance for my publisher . . . until I’d read an article about how much money Selena Kitt was earning self publishing erotic romance. That’s when I decided it would be worth writing something new to self publish and see what it could do. That was Educating Ansley, a cowboy ménage. I very quietly uploaded it in May of 2011 and that 40K word story sold 6,000 copies in the first 6 weeks at $2.99. After that I was hooked.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

CJ: Control is a huge pro self publishing offers that traditional does not. I can be quick on my feet. I can make changes on a moment’s notice. I can write a story this week and have it in readers’ hands next week, rather than 2 years from now after the genre is flooded and the reader interest has cooled. I have the freedom to change my price to take advantage of a special event or promotion at Kobo or iBooks. I can tweak my metadata to see if something else works better than what I’m doing. Today’s publishing landscape is changing at the speed of light. Publishers (and that includes self published authors) have to be ready, willing and able to change just as quickly. The problem is the systems in place at most big publishers are not set up to do that.

But there are cons to self publishing as well. Self publishing at my level still does not have the legitimacy or the distribution that I can get with a traditional publisher. There are still people who equate quality with big publishing. And it is still easier to get stocked on shelves in stores or in libraries or for a booksigning with a trad pub book.

LP: What are the expenses involved in publishing your own book? How long does it take you to get a book out?

CJ: The costs and the time are both minimal. I am a control freak, so I do everything I can myself. My USA Today bestselling Hot SEALs series covers are done by me in Photoshop where I can play for hours to get my vision for the cover just right. By my manipulating and combining stock art photos, my covers can cost a few dollars rather than hundreds. I format the files and upload them myself to each vendor, which means there is no additional cost other than my time. I have a couple of trusted people who beta read and then proof read for me and can usually turn the book around in a few days so the time from when I finish writing to release is usually less than 2 weeks.

LP: You have your very own KINDLE WORLD on Amazon for your Hot SEALS series. Tell us about how that came about and what it entails.

CJ: About 2 years ago, Amazon began expanding its Kindle Worlds program to include romance worlds. Bella Andre’s world was one of them and I was approached by Amazon to write a story within her world. The relationship I built with the KW team throughout that experience, and the level of my sales, prompted them to offer me my own world. I couldn’t license Amazon my traditionally published series without worrying about being in violation of my contract but my SEALs are self published. The Hot SEALs KindleWorld launched in August of 2015 and was a huge success. It’s basically fan fiction of my Hot SEALs series that is for sale. Anyone can write in the world, readers or authors, as long as they follow the guidelines outlined. They can write new characters into my world, or if they have an existing series, they can write their own characters doing things alongside mine. It’s a lot of fun for my readers who want more Hot SEALs stories. It’s nice for the authors too, since we all band together to help promote the world. Those interested in writing a story can check out the world guidelines at catjohnson.net/kindleworlds and those who want to read the stories can shop the titles at catjohnson.net/shopkindleworlds.

LP: Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .)

CJ: This is my fault, because I will choose promo and marketing over writing every day, but it’s probably 10% writing and 90% everything else, which includes keeping abreast of changes in the market, posting and reading on social media, handling email, newsletters, blogging and creating graphics. I try not to feel guilty about that ratio being so skewed because all that other stuff is important too. But I do need to learn to focus better and prioritize the writing.

LP: You’ve published several bestselling series including RED HOT AND BLUE, STUDS IN SPURS and OKLAHOMA NIGHTS. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

CJ: Series are not only fun for authors to write but they are huge sellers. And I am NOT talking serials where there is basically a cliffhanger at the end of each installment and you have to get the next book. I’m talking about a connected series that shares a world, where there is an HEA or at least a HFN at the end, and the story is complete.

All of my series stories can standalone but readers love to read them all because it’s fun to catch up with the hero and heroine from the past books. Or to see the hero’s best friend you’ve come to know and love get his happy ending in the next book. Once I get to know the characters and the setting I like continuing with them, and series allow that. Red Hot & Blue and the Hot SEALs series are military romance. The Studs in Spurs, Oklahoma Nights and Midnight Cowboys series are about modern day cowboys. Visitors can find all my series listed at my site at CatJohnson.net, along with other fun stuff like quote graphics and recipes.

LP: You’re a Top 10 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbie authors should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

CJ: 1-Write the next book! 2-And then write the next one after that. 3-And then release those books, steadily and predictably, promoted in advance so the readers know what to expect from you and when. Then do it all over again. Rare is the author who can make a living, or a career, on one or two or even three books. I’ve found the best way to sell the last book is to release the next one. Breakouts and anomalies aside, a career in publishing is a living thing. You don’t keep feeding it, it’s gonna waste away and eventually die.

LP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

CJ: I love Cristin Harber. Our genre and writing voices are very similar and I love how she approaches the business with a combined analytical savvy and creative enthusiasm that is rare.

LP: Bonus Round: Between your COWBOYS and SEALS: 

Who would take a gal out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and who would make her dinner at home?

CJ: My SEALs would take me out (they eat bad food so often, they’d want something nice from a restaurant) while my cowboys would definitely cook . . . probably steaks they raised themselves on the ranch.

LP: Who would pick up his lady’s dirty tissues from the floor when she’s sick in bed and who would give her a back rub instead?

CJ: SEALs fear no germs! And I’m thinking they’re neat freaks, at least judging by the way they clean their weapons. Cowboys are very hands on. They’d be using all that hand strength they’ve built fixing fences and such for a nice back rub.

LP: Who would seduce his lady with sweet words whispered in her ear and who would seduce with a sexy growl?

CJ: Cowboys are sweet talkers with their darlin’ and baby girl and even a well placed ma’am. SEALs aren’t going to waste time with words. A growl will do.

LP: Who would bake a birthday cake for his lady’s birthday and who would surprise her in his birthday suit?

Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings

CJ: I think SEALs can be overachievers at times, and I think going the extra mile to bake their lady a cake might be just the thing he’d do to show his prowess in all things. A cowboy would get right down to the business of delivering his gift—him. Naked.

LP: Thank you!

CJ: Thank you for inviting me!

Connect with Cat Johnson via her website, on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram.

 

Image: marketing-skills.blogspot.com

One of the things that we started doing at Lachesis Publishing is to ask for a 2-3 page marketing plan from every author who submits a manuscript to us. Even if they have published with us numerous times and have had great success with us.

Here are the top reasons why we ask for a Marketing Plan at Lachesis Publishing and why Marketing Plans are so important for authors to have:

If you work in an Ivory Tower, better make sure you have wifi ;)Image: www.witoldrybczynski.com

1. IT’S YOUR CAREER: We want authors to think about their careers and yes (GASP) their own BRAND. We want authors to understand that you can no longer write in an IVORY TOWER. You have to get out there amongst the masses and interact with potential readers and fans. Many publishers and agents may not ask about a marketing plan. But I can GUARANTEE YOU if you do one they will BE IMPRESSED. Heck, even the big houses have CUT BACK on what they spend PER AUTHOR. And if you are not a BIG NAME, chances are YOU WON’T GET MUCH from the BIG HOUSES. So it’s up TO YOU to build YOUR CAREER.

Kick some marketing butt Xena style!Image: www.comicvine.com

2. A GOOD FOUNDATION MEANS A GREAT FUTURE: We want authors to have a framework or a foundation from which to work. This can only HELP YOU in your future. Knowledge means EMPOWERMENT and that will serve you well as you build your career as an author. With each new release – or with each new series – you can only get BETTER and STRONGER at marketing YOUR WORK. Many authors have never even thought about marketing let alone create and execute a plan. If you have a foundation then it can only help you across the board, with every book you write – whether it’s with Lachesis Publishing or another publisher or even a self-published book. There is a TON of good info out there to help YOU formulate your OWN plan. Here are 5 LINKS (out of more than 36 million links) I came up with when I googled AUTHOR MARKETING PLANS:

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK MARKETING PLAN IN 13 EASY STEPS (standoutbooks.com)

FREE BOOK MARKETING PLAN OUTLINE (allindiewriters.com)

WHAT’S YOUR BOOK MARKETING PLAN? 6 CRUCIAL STEPS TO INCLUDE (thewritelife.com)

HOW TO CREATE A KILLER MARKETING PLAN FOR YOUR BOOK LAUNCH (socialmouths.com)

MARKETING CENTRAL (createspace.com)

Build your traffic!Image: www.grinningplanet.com

3. TRAFFIC! TRAFFIC! TRAFFIC! We do a lot of paid promotion for our authors via sites such as Book Bub, Kindle Nation Daily, Ereader Cafe, EreaderNewsTodayFree Booksy, and many more. Having said that – we know how important it is for our authors to have a presence online and to have “TRAFFIC” on their books. Authors have to do THEIR PART in getting as many REVIEWS as possible so that WE can go for as many book sites as possible including the BIG deal Book Bub slots and other online sites that require AT LEAST 10 reviews to even CONSIDER a book.

LeeAnn Lessard, our publisher is CONSTANTLY searching out new venues for us to promote our books. And we are always trying out new sites, and new opportunities to see what works for us. So it is crucial for authors to be REGULARLY working on INCREASING REVIEWS of ALL OF THEIR BOOKS. EVEN OLDER TITLES because we PROMOTE THOSE TOO!

Barney knows what he’s talkin’ about.Image: barney.wikia.com

4. BECAUSE WE ARE PART OF A COMMUNITY: We do daily promotion on our own Lachesis Publishing website and the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog  which takes time, expense, and effort. Every week we have a DEAL OF THE WEEK, where we offer ONE of our books for JUST .99 CENTS. And we promote it on our website home page in addition to promoting it via our blog and on our facebook page and on twitter. In addition to creating interesting daily content on our blog, I seek out interviews and guest spots with notable, award-winning, and bestselling authors who have so much to share with ALL OF US, not just Lachesis Publishing authors, but so many of us who write and/or work in CREATIVE FIELDS. For example, we have just launched a series of INTERVIEWS (Q AND As) with authors who self-publish either exclusively or are hybrid authors as well as authors who have tried self-pubbing but are not fans. We are doing this series to get a balanced perspective on what self-publishing is about and why some authors love it and others don’t, and because it is so much a part of our industry now with so many great success stories but also some not-so-great experiences too. We think it’s important for all writers to be informed about what the publishing landscape is all about. That is why we provide daily content that embraces ALL authors.

Each blog post on the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog is promoted on our Lachesis Publishing social media accounts and on my own social media sites and is shared among OUR AUTHORS It’s this kind of SHARING MEANS CARING commitment that we know helps to spread the word about our books. When our authors share a fellow Lachesis Publishing author‘s book on their own facebook page or on twitter – it helps to expand our reach. This is why we foster an author community at Lachesis Publishing.

You got this!Image: elbrooklyntaco.com

5. IT’S CHALLENGING AND IT’S GOOD FOR YOU TO LEARN NEW THINGS. Many authors feel OVERWHELMED by the idea of even GETTING ONTO SOCIAL MEDIA or getting out there and doing a blog tour or a facebook event or launching a street team. If you’ve never done it before. Don’t worry! There are plenty of authors out there who have and are willing to share their knowledge with YOU. And then YOU TOO can PAY IT FORWARD. As I mentioned above, there is A TON of info online that you can access for advice when it comes to WHATEVER you want to undertake. Then there is the old adage of TRIAL AND ERROR: If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again. You can only LEARN by DOING. And learning how to market yourself is a GREAT SKILL that you can use IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE, including many kinds of charities that you are passionate about. So there is always AN ADDITIONAL benefit to learning to flex your MARKETING muscle.

I hope I have CONVINCED you how IMPORTANT a marketing plan is FOR YOU. That we are not here just to MAKE YOU DO EXTRA WORK but we are helping you to IMPROVE your own career, FORGE new relationships and a sense of community, and LEARN new skills.

So remember, when you submit a proposal or manuscript to Lachesis Publishing, you MUST send along a 2-3 page marketing plan. And keep in mind WHY it’s so important to you and to us. 🙂

Happy writing (and marketing)! 🙂

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing. 

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

It’s not very often that I find myself finishing a book with my jaw literally dropped open. That’s what happened with David Lee Summers’ new novel, Heirs of the new Earth. I flat out admit I was disappointed. Not with the ending of the tale but the very fact that I had come to the adventure’s conclusion. Summers carefully breaks up his tale into sections and like a master weaver threads separate story arcs and characters across the galaxy, spinning the fabric of an amazing tale of science fiction adventure that kept me on the edge of my chair eagerly scrolling page after page.  A warning to every reader . . . block off a good chunk of time, pour your favorite beverage and sit down in your favorite comfort chair. Once you start reading, the story jumps out and grabs hold, drawing you into a world one thousand years in the future where mankind has spread across the universe, contacted other intelligent life, and colonized new worlds.

Not all life in the galaxy is warm, fuzzy and humanoid. This, in my opinion, is where Summers shines like a fiery day star. The author creates a palpable sense of awe and dread painting an intricate portrait of a mysterious alien race known only as the Cluster. Summers’ prologue gives the reader a sense of the mysterious alien(s), their history in the galaxy and the beings’ desire to merge with another species to use as “Appendages”. Unfortunately for humanity WE have been chosen. Summers intricately dissects the cost/benefit analysis of human interaction with an “All powerful entity” motivated to “Help” us cure disease and cleanse the Earth for our benefit. Sometimes the price for paradise can be too steep and the motivation of a benefactor not always as pure as one is led to believe. Summers creates a viable web of intrigue and puts a morality study into play as humanity is unwittingly aiding in its own destruction.

Summers takes the battle for humanity into deep space at the Galactic Core with incredible ships such as the Mapping Cruiser ‘Nicholas Sanson’ led by Captain John Mark Ellis and the refit pirate schooner ‘Legacy’ headed by the elder Captain Ellision Firebrandt. But he also utilizes cerebral pathways and gateways of the human mind manipulated by the advanced alien intellect. Summers’ brilliant depiction of an ancient sailing vessel navigating interstellar space populated by copies of human brain patterns literally made me stop mid-read and ponder the possibility of such an incredible concept. Summers goes even further as he creates the final epic space battle to save humanity from its “Benefactors.” It is here that all the story arcs come together, each fabric of Summers’ tapestry woven to perfection culminating in the final battle to save humanity not only from the Cluster but from itself. Again, David Lee Summers shows his story-telling genius by throwing a major twist into the salvation of humanity and giving the reader another moment for dramatic pause to consider such a wondrous possibility that man may not be the best intellect on Earth. In the end it isn’t human genius or firepower that saves mankind but something more subtle, awe inspiring, yet somewhat terrifying at the same time. As the danger for humanity isn’t over but may only be delayed as the powerful alien Cluster learns and develops from its new host appendage.

It took longer than normal to get involved with the main characters of this tale because it’s the third book in a trilogy, and though it’s apparent there are relationships established in the first two books that continue in the third, this doesn’t detract from the story as the relationships become self-evident and the plots cleverly merge together. Summers’ ability to create a unique future for humanity is quite believable as the problems that impact modern day society in the 21st century are still there in the 30th century only exasperated in scale.His description of 30th century Earth is as fantastic as it is credible which makes this epic tale about the struggle to preserve humanity that much more intriguing and viable to any reader.

Grab your favorite chips and beverage, curl up in a nice cozy spot and give your mind and imagination the treat of this incredible tale told by a unique, gifted author. The only problem I have now is waiting to get book one and book two.

The Old Star Saga by David Lee Summers includes:

The Pirates of Sufiro (Book 1)

Children of the Old Stars (Book 2)

Heirs of the New Earth (Book 3)

David Lee Summers is a multi-published science fiction and horror author. You can purchase David Lee Summers’ books at Lachesis Publishing, on amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Our guest blogger for today is super duper selling author Josie Brown, the bestselling author of the Housewife Assassin Series (so far there are 12 books and counting in this series). She is also the author of the Totlandia Series (contemporary romance/women’s fiction) that follows a group of moms in a “mom and tots” club (five books in the series and counting). 

The late, great Jackie Collins had this to say about Josie Brown: 

Josie Brown writes with all the secrets, sex and scandal of a tabloid cover story…truly entertaining reading.”

Autor Josie Brown

Josie is a self-published author who, a few years back made a decision that would change her career forever. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone but Josie is a stellar example of an author with a truly entrepreneurial spirit. She not only writes kick-ass books – she’s a kick-ass business woman too. In the following blog post (originally published on Josie’s own blog called AUTHOR PROVOCATEUR on Dec. 30th, 2015, Josie jumps into the highly charged issue that many authors have been facing in recent years: To self-publish or not to self-publish? That is the Question!

Most authors walk a financial tightrope.

Hey, don’t take my word for it. In a September 2015 an article on a recent Authors Guild survey of its members’ incomes,  Publishers Weekly put it this way:

Yikes.

Thank goodness for self-publishing. It saved my career, and those of many other authors I know.

Even with four novels (one optioned for television) and two-nonfiction books published traditionally, as early as 2010 I’d dipped my toe into the choppy waves of self-publishing. My subsequent success with it is why I now self-publish exclusively.

Whereas self-publishing has grown by leaps and bounds in the past ten years, ours wasn’t the first generation to discover its financial rewards. Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Marcel Proust, and Walt Whitman self-published their books. Misery loves great company indeed.

But before self-publishing became a financially viable option for the current generation of writers, traditional publishing—that is to say, print books, primarily by one of the Big Five New York publishing houses—was the only venue for the sale and distribution of books. Even ten years ago, the thing authors love to do most—write novels—was not possible without running an unwieldy gauntlet that put their manuscripts in front of any literary agency that might deem the book sellable to a publisher, and any publishing house editor who might actually like it enough to purchase it.

Besides editing, printing, and distributing a book, part of the publisher’s job is also to promote it. For doing so  the publisher holds on to anywhere from 80-92 percent of the book’s retail price.

(Yep, some authors get only an 8 percent royalty. Worse yet, royalties are paid twice yearly, and they are only paid if their books “earn out”—that is, return any advance paid, which may not happen for years if at all, what with the other variables tied to this equation, including book returns, of which there are no cut-offs; and perhaps the payback of advances of other books as well.)

Sadly, in traditional publishing, marketing is the last consideration—never the first—when purchasing a book from an author. Compared to other products as a whole—and entertainment products in particular, including films, music, magazines, and video games—it gets a negligible budget, if any at all.

Don’t take my word for it.  In this article regarding the breakup between bestselling thriller writer Steve Hamilton and his former publishing house, St. Martin’s Press, Publishers Weekly outs its industry’s dirty little secret: there is no there, there:

 

A book can be beautifully written, have scintillating dialogue and a page-turning plot. But without the adequate marketing and promotion that puts it in front of a targeted audience, a book is as dead as a beached whale.

At this point in time, most Authors Guild members are traditionally published. Coupled with the Hamilton/SMP breakup, the Authors Guild survey certainly makes an excellent case for the guild to reconsider what it must do to protect its members. For example, the guild—along with literary agents and intellectual property attorneys—should insist that any publishing contract contain clauses that:

(a) Succinctly spell out a yearly quantitative financial base for the book, with instant reversion to the author if not met. Right now, most publishing contracts hold onto rights forever, under the assumption that digital distribution means that a book never goes out of print.

(b) Outline an advertising budget, tied to an actual, very specific media plan for the marketing of the book—at least for the first full year in print—and allow for immediate reversion of rights if there is no follow-through.

Is it any wonder that hybrid authors—that is to say, those authors who have been published traditionally, but then, like me, elected to publish their books independently of a publishing house—are a growing breed? Of course not. Like everyone else, authors have to eat. They have to pay rents and mortgages. They have to raise kids, and pay for health insurance, taxes, and all the other expenses that come from with being self-employed.

I know of many hybrid authors personally. Under the traditional publishing model, their advances and sales shrunk along with the demise of both chain and independent brick-and-mortar bookstores. Several were on the brink of financial disaster (homes soon to be repossessed, couch-surfing, near bankruptcy)  when they made the decision to walk away from traditional publishing contracts. Instead, they rolled up their shirtsleeves and did what they had to do to self-publish: write good books; have their books professionally edited and digitally converted; distribute their books—primarily as eBooks.

The successful ones know they must also promote their books.

The good news for their readers: the books are priced lower than their offerings still distributed by their traditional publishers.

The great news for these authors: now that they retain 70 percent of the book’s retail price, they are making a sustainable living for themselves and their families.

Some are doing better than that, having already sold millions of books since starting this journey.Sylvia DayBarbara Freethy, Stephanie Bond,  Bella Andre, and Kate Perry are perfect examples of hybrid authors who took advantage of the changing bookselling marketplace to not just survive, but to thrive. And whereas Ms. Day, Ms. Andre and Ms. Bond still have one foot in traditional publishing, Ms. Freethy and Ms. Perry are in total control of every facet of their books’ design, distribution and promotion.

Such success stories are now numerous. As author advocate Jane Friedman‘s wonderful blog points out,  Claire Cook, Harry Bingham, and William Kowalski are just a few other examples of hybrid authors who made the leap and never looked back.

Products are created from a perceived need. Industries are created by providing sales and distribution venues for products.

But sometimes how the product is distributed changes also how the product is purchased by its consumers.

Books—in whatever form they take—will always be needed. They entertain, they provoke thought, they provide knowledge.

In publishing, books are the products. Still, how books are distributed and sold doesn’t change how they are made: by authors with the perseverance to write a good story, and then do what they can to find readers who will fall in love with it.

In his blog post. William Kowalski puts it succinctly:

Well said.

Like Mr. Kowalski, Ms. Cook, and Mr. Bingham, I love what I do. Now that 2015 has come to an end, I now know that all my hard work toward creation and release of the my latest four books and a novella (The Housewife Assassin’s Garden of Deadly Delights, The Housewife Assassin’s Tips for Weddings, Weapons, and Warfare, The Housewife Assassin’s Husband Hunting Hints, Totlandia Book 5, and Gone with the Body) was worth it.

It is confirmed by my bookstore royalties. More importantly, it is substantiated by the many kind comments received from my supportive readers.

Thank you, readers, for taking a chance on me, loving my characters, and chatting up my books with others who they felt might enjoy them, too.

Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with more great stories from your favorite authors.

—Josie

Connect with Josie Brown via her website, her newsletter and facebook.

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