In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Who’s In Charge Here? (Guest Post)
* Because This Directly Feeds
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“What If You’re New to Writing and Don’t Know How to Fix Things?” title of an article by Tiffany Yates Martin in Jane Friedman’s weekly blog digest
Lucky you. You’re as pure as your characters. Now you only need to push down the myth that things need to be ‘fixed.’ Run a spell check, have a first reader check for wrong words and inconsistencies, then publish and start the next story.
“If you rewrite and have sold 50 novels, you know how to rewrite in creative voice. It’s a learned skill. … Many professional writers don’t rewrite. Many only do one or two drafts.” Dean Wesley Smith
“Having imagination, it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that, if you were unimaginative, would take you only a minute.” Franklin Pierce Adams
“The best revenge is massive success.” Frank Sinatra
Who’s In Charge Here?
a guest post by Dan Baldwin
“[O]f the 58,000 trade titles published per year, fully half of those titles ‘sell fewer than one dozen books.’ (Not a typo, that’s one dozen.) More broadly, 90 percent of titles sell fewer than 2,000 units. Even a small advance of a few thousand dollars would not earn out at standard royalty rates.” The Hot Sheet, on August 31, 2022
Of course, you and I are the exceptions to the rule and will shortly earn our six-figure royalties and our Pulitzer Prize, but for the rest of the folks out there, here are a few thoughts on the numbers game.
The numbers in the Numbers Game are stacked against the writer The odds of “making it” financially through traditional publishing are less than one out of ten – substantially less.
What can a struggling writer (most of us) do?
The answer for me is to have as much control over publishing my work as possible and that means self-publishing.
Yes, I occasionally publish traditionally, but only for very narrow and very specific reasons and those are usually related to a specific marketing challenge. Nine of ten books I write under my own name are self-published. Most of my ghostwriting clients throughout the past decades made the same choice.
Control means I can choose ebook, paperback or hardback versions or all three. I choose all three. I believe in using all possible formats to increase market share – basic business.
Control means my cover design (and formatting) is my design expressed by my designer under my guidance. It’s not one of the usual take-it-and-like-it designs from a corporate artist who has no knowledge of me or the book other than a corporate work order.
One of my traditionally published Western-themed books ended up with an illustration of a gunfighter wearing weapons and clothing no real gunfighter would ever wear. That may seem minor, but that image is a killer for any reader of any books on the Old West. The designer just didn’t know his subject and book sales would have suffered for it.
Control means I make my own mistakes. I published a book several years ago with a mid-size firm with a good reputation. They did a good job with the cover and formatting and even with setting up a few publicity events. Those events created a lot of short-term “buzz” about the book.
Unfortunately, people trying to find a copy couldn’t – the publisher printed the damn thing with the wrong ISBN! I make enough mistakes on my own; I don’t need a anyone else running up that score.
Control means I publish on my schedule. Once my manuscript is complete and turned over to my designer/formatter, publication around the world is accomplished in a matter of weeks. Traditional publishing can take up to two years or more to achieve the same results.
While my contemporaries in my genres are slogging through writing query letters, sending sample chapters, dealing with agents, worrying with publishers, and so on and so on, I’m busy writing (and probably publishing) my next book.
One of the reasons my ghostwriting clients prefer self-publishing is their desire to get their message to their market as swiftly as possible.
Control means I’m in charge of my own publicity. Yes, traditional publishers say they’ll handle all that for you. Some will make an effort, but it’s naïve to think that you can avoid doing your own PR.
For example, one of my traditional book publishers assigned a PR person to me and I’ll give her credit for working hard. But I was just one of the authors on her list. She emailed that she was reaching out to a specific international radio/podcast host to see if an interview was possible. I thanked her, but noted that I had already reached out and was already scheduled for the program.
Publicity isn’t rocket science; it’s basic labor, and struggling authors need to be ready to handle the chores on their own. The point? You’re going to be forced to handle your own PR anyway, so why not publish the way that earns you the highest return on those efforts?
And speaking of return on investment, control means more profit for me. The rule of thumb states that an author’s profit in selling 100 traditionally published works is the same when selling ten self-published works. I don’t know where that rule comes from, but it seems right. Traditional profits are ten cents on the dollar for the author. Self-publishing profits range from 30 to 70 percent depending on the author’s choices.
Control means I can handle the oops factor. Changes in the text or design can be made pretty much on the author’s whim or need. For example, let’s say I discovered I had accidentally slandered someone in the manuscript. The necessary change can be made to the manuscript and instantly uploaded so that the correction is immediate. An author can just as easily change a sentence, paragraph, chapter or whatever the same way if s/he so wishes.
Writing is an expression of heart and soul. It’s pure creativity. Marketing is an expression of facts and figures – a numbers game. If you’re going to play, remember, if you want your best shot at winning the game, there’s safety in numbers when you control the numbers.
Thanks, Dan. Folks, to sign up for Dan’s free blogette, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to visit his websites (see “Of Interest”).
Because This Directly Feeds
our recent discussion re whether “just write the next book” is the best marketing advice, I decided to present it here rather than in “Of Interest.” By the way, if ANY of you are successful marketers of your books and would like to write a guest post to share your “secrets” with others, email me at email@example.com.
See “The Making of A Six Figure Author: How Authors Evolve With Their Income” at https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/how-authors-evolve-with-their-income/.
Wow. According to the chart, I should be making $10,000 per month from book sales.
Of course, in yesterday’s gripe session about the fading of our local radio station into mediocrity (what one writer called “Frat Boy Country”), I did not mean to misspell “diSk jockeys.” I promise.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Animal Communication + Unnatural Mayhem” at https://www.suecoletta.com/animal-communication-unnatural-mayhem/.
See “Challenges for the New Year” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/challenges-for-the-new-year/. Of course, you can do these challenges for yourself and not pay anyone anything. Just sayin’.
See “DanBaldwin.com” at https://danbaldwin.com/.
See “FourKnightsPress.com” at https://fourknightspress.com/.
The Journal…………………………………… 350 words
Writing of WCG 7 Santa Fe 2 (novel tentative title)
Day 1…… 2190 words. Total words to date…… 2190
Day 2…… 3049 words. Total words to date…… 5239
Day 3…… 2588 words. Total words to date…… 7827
Day 4…… 3373words. Total words to date…… 11200
Total fiction words for December……… 27614
Total fiction words for the year………… 242588
Total nonfiction words for December… 10580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 208660
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 451248
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 70
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. Because It Makes Sense, I trust my characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living. This greatly increases my productivity and provides the fastest possible ascension along the learning curve of Craft because I get a great deal more practice at actually writing. It will do the same for you if only you trust it.