Archive for Links to other great blogs
How do you get inspired to write?
One of my subscribers sent me a link to an article on the unique writing rituals of 20 acclaimed authors, and it got me thinking about whether I have any rituals myself.
Though I don’t do it just before writing, I write “morning pages” every single morning, as a way to both “mind dump” and “prime the pump.” I believe this practice of writing morning pages is one of the reasons why I never have writer’s block. Ever.
The other reasons I don’t have writer’s block stem from a couple of other techniques I learned years ago. I talked about them all in my class, “Writing Secrets Revealed.” You can learn more here. If you too took up these simple practices, I believe you will come to find writing about as natural as breathing. (And even more enjoyable.)
Share your own “writing rituals” or ways you overcome writer’s block below, please.
Seth Godin makes an excellent point in his post, Piracy? You wish. Publishers are hot and bothered about DRM on ebooks. But, quoting Tim O’Reilly, Seth points out that books don’t have a piracy problem. They have an obscurity problem.
Music has a piracy problem. People want to listen to as much music as possible, all day. Most people aren’t reading much at all, let alone reading your book. Seth Godin says, “I’ve written several free ebooks (here’s one) and even when I want unlimited piracy, it doesn’t happen.)
What is it you really want? Isn’t it for people to read your book?
Sure, you want to sell it and make a lot of money. But if that’s your primary goal, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Most books just don’t make you a lot of money. Also, if you’re paranoid that other people might steal your content, again you’ll be disappointed.
Few people will go to the trouble of stealing your content outright. And if they really want to, they will find a way.
What people who love your content will do is share it. Yes, they may do so in a way that robs you of a few cents.
The question is, would you rather be read, or safe in obscurity?
The following guest article is by Michael J. Dowling’s newsletter, “The Write Stuff.” I thought you’d appreciate hearing a “war story” from a published author. You might want to sign up for his newsletter to get more gems like this.
Awhile back, I wrote a book titled Boosting Your Pet Self-Esteem. It’s a humorous satire of the self-help movement that my wife, Sarah, enlivened with forty of her cartoon illustrations. Sans agent, I approached Macmillan Publishing because they had recently published another best-selling cultural satire, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.
The editor at Macmillan liked my concept, but ultimately sent the manuscript to one of the company’s affiliates, Howell Book House, which specializes in the pet market. When Howell offered to publish my book, I was so excited that I immediately accepted.
|Many cats suffer from catatonia. They’re so laid back, they can’t be up front.
Then reality set in. One month into the project, the marketing manager assigned to my book left and was replaced by someone short on experience. A short time later, this replacement left and for quite a while was replaced by no one. When a new marketing manager finally came on board, a few weeks before my book was due to come out, I visited with her while I was in New York City. To my dismay, I learned that my book had virtually no marketing plan or marketing budget. “If it starts to sell once it’s in the book stores, we’ll put some money behind it,” she told me.
Upon publication, Howell shipped copies of Boosting Your Pet Self-Esteem to its usual pet store accounts, where ..you guessed it…they sat on the shelves. We should have realized that people go to pet stores to buy dog food, not cultural satires. Our primary market was not people who drive minivans and have pets, but people who listen to NPR and have therapists.
Howell also placed a few hundred copies with two national bookstore chains, where again they…you guessed it .. .sat on the shelves among thousands of other titles. With only a ¼” spine exposed to view and no marketing and promotion, most shoppers didn’t know my book existed. Six months later, these bookstores returned most of their copies to the publisher for credit. (Return privileges are standard in the industry. Big publishers are happy to grant them to bookstores, because they make it hard for small publishers to compete.)
|Tail wagging is what pet psychologists call a coping mechanism. Insecure dogs inappropriately use it to attract attention.
Not to be deterred, I sent out scores of review copies to various media outlets at my own expense. I also put considerable effort into getting on talk radio shows across the country. My spiel was well received – one pet-show host said our interview was one of the funniest he had ever had, and humorist Michael Feldman gave away copies of my book on his Saturday morning National Public Radio show – but it resulted in few sales.
Less than two years after publication, Howell took my book out of print. About two years and many hassles later, I got the rights back. All I earned for my efforts was a $2,500 advance on royalties.
My story is not unusual. These days traditional publishers devote much less time and money to editing and marketing than they did, say, thirty years ago. With the advent of the Internet and the revolution in printing technology, more and more authors are deciding to self-publish.
That’s not to say that traditional publishers don’t offer some advantages over self-publishing. They cover all production costs (cover design, interior layout, printing, etc.), which is not an insignificant benefit. Also, a traditional publisher’s name can add credibility to a title, which can be important in certain markets. And their established distribution channels can boost sales.
However, traditional publishing has at least five major drawbacks compared to self-publishing:
- Traditional publishing is a lengthy process. First, it can take quite a bit of time and effort to find a traditional publisher who will accept your manuscript. After you find a publisher, the publication process can take two years or more. In contrast, the self-publishing process typically requires about nine months from commencement of writing to printed book in hand.
- A traditional publisher will require that you give up considerable control over your book. And if the publisher fails to perform, you may have to expend lots of effort over an extended period to recover the rights.
- Traditional publishers generally pay royalties of 10% of their net sales. That means if your book retails for $12.00, you would typically earn a maximum of $ .60 per copy (10% of the wholesale price of $6.00). On the other hand, if the same book was self-published and the printing cost was $2.00 per copy, you would earn as much as $4.00 on each book sold. And for every book you sell at the retail price of $12.00 – for example, by selling it on your own website or at speaking engagements – you would earn about $10.00 per copy.
- Traditional publishing is a rather unattractive option if you plan to personally sell or give away a significant number of books, because you will have to buy books from the publisher at considerably more than the printing cost.
- Unless you have significant name recognition within the book’s target market (in the industry this is called a “platform”), you may have difficulty finding a traditional publisher anyway. After expending considerable time and effort looking for a publisher, you could still come up empty handed.
Traditional publishing is terrific, but it’s not always better than self-publishing or subsidy publishing. Next month I’ll tell you about these two alternatives.
Note: If Mike’s book interests you, you can get a free copy by telling other people about his newsletter at http://www.michaeljdowling.com/newsletter.html. Subscribe yourself, tell your friend about his newsletter, and send Mike an email saying you passed on the word. He’ll send you an autographed copy. It’s really funny.
I just downloaded a free ebook onto my Kindle, because Seth Godin is recommending it: Do the Work. I recommend you read it, because everything Steven Pressfield says is relevant to anyone who wants to be an author.
I also recommend it because to get the free ebook, you need to subscribe to Seth’s blog, The Domino Project, where you’ll find information on this new publishing approach is and how it works.
His stated goals:
- To reinvent the way books are created when the middleman is made less important.
- To reinvent the way books are purchased when the tribe is known and embraced.
- To reinvent the way books are read when the alternatives are so much easier to find.
- To find and leverage great ideas and great authors, bringing them to readers who need them.
Read the rest of his article to understand why he believes change must happen in publishing, and how he plans to fix the problems.
Will Seth Godin change the face of publishing? Look at his partners so far: Amazon for distribution, sponsors like GE for his marketing. Look at his model: partnering, spreading ideas, reaching his audience, solving problems.
What do you think?
I love what Mark Joyner does with multi-media courses.Â
As you may know,Â I’m a fan of hisÂ SimpleologyÂ courses.Â Â Simpleology 101 taught me to be at least twice as productive.Â Simpleology 102 showed me how money actually works, and caused me to change my whole business model.Â Simpleology 103 has helped me feel more energy than I ever had–despite some health challenges.
Now I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.
(And if you don’t have a blog, there are links that show you where and how to set one up
for nothing.Â I recommend WordPress.)
The new courseÂ covers:
- The best blogging techniques.
- How to get traffic to your blog.
- How to turn your blog into money.
I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out.Â Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.
Paul Hartunian, who is a real pro at getting publicity, started a blog (it’s about time, Paul!). And it’s good!
I suggest you check it out. He’s got some good things to say about publicity and, in particular, how important celebrity status is. (I hate this whole thing as much as he does. But as he says, it is what it is. Might as well deal with reality and use it to your advantage when you can.)