Category Archives: Angells 4 Authors

A4A: Building an E-newsletter list Part 1 of 5

Hello Lovely Ourwritesiders,

I am doing a segment on what I think is one of the most important parts of an author’s marketing strategy. E-newsletter lists.

Do you have an e-newsletter list yet? It surprises me how many authors don’t. ??For many, I hear that they are just too busy. They depend on social media to reach their fans. ??They don’t know where to start with an email list, or why they should try. We are going to delve into those issues today.

Why an E-newsletter List is Necessary for a Serious Author??(no matter how busy you are.)

I know, being an author is hard. It is time-consuming. Just writing a book is time-consuming, but this whole marketing thing? Talk about overwhelming! I get it, I do. We are all just doing the best that we can. Many authors are still on the Social Media Band Wagon, in regards to reaching new fans and keeping them engaged. ??Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to get rid of social media, anyone who knows me knows I have a ridiculous number of social media accounts that I post to and interact with regularly!

However, I prefer to keep my fans as close to my personal control as possible. I don’t want to have to pay Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media platforms to find new fans AND to stay in front of them. That’s just crazy!

That’s why I have a newsletter. I own that list. Yes, I have to pay my newsletter emailer, but if I don’t like their prices, or if I develop a problem, I can take my list when I leave their service for another. As long as that reader wants to stay in touch with me, no one can keep us apart.

Can I say the same for Social Media? Nope.

??Where Social Media and E-newsletters fall on the Sales Funnel.

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I have a much higher conversion of sales from my e-newsletter list than from social media. Most marketing professionals will tell you that social media is toward the top of the sales funnel. This is the point where you are getting them interested. It’s the digital candy shop display, so to speak. But once you get them to your e-newsletter list, they already prefer you as an author. Now you just have to offer them the products to purchase, a little love and attention to nurture their loyalty, and a nudge in the right direction on how they can advocate for you! ??

So, are you sold on why you should do an e-newsletter? Great, next time we???ll talk about how to plan your newsletter. If you have any questions or opinions about e-newsletters, drop them in the comments below. We???re here to help!

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac, and wordsmith. When she isn???t writing or reading, she enjoys helping fellow authors on their writing adventures. Learn more about how Heidi can help you at??Angells4Authors

A4A: Crank It Out Detailed Review, and Should Authors Do This?

Hello Lovely authors, ??

I have debated and debated how best to address this issue that I have been struggling with and it really came to a head after attempting to read Crank it Out: The Surefire Way to Become a Super Productive Writer??by C.S. Lakin.

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I want to preface this with stating that I am actually a huge fan of C.S. Lakin. I have been following her blog for writers, Live Write, Thrive??for over a year now. She provides a ton of great advice (especially for new writers) and I find it a great tool for refreshers and to reference for fellow author friends.

I was really excited when I heard she was releasing a book called Crank it Out, geared around a hot button topic for a lot of authors right now, the “need” to publish more books, more quickly, in an effort to make a living.

I’ll be honest, I want to make a living as an author. We all do, right? But I, like many authors I know, make a living another way.

I KNOW that we can make a living. I see indie authors in the 20Booksto50K ??Facebook group reporting it ALL the time, but I’m not there. I tried updating covers, based on recommendations to that effect. I tried marketing strategies, I tried advertising, I have tried A LOT. ??

The old adage used to be that it took 5 books before an author was able to build enough of a fan base to make it. But at 8 books, as of this article, I’m still not making enough money to cover my bills. If I let up on marketing every single book even a little bit, my sales plummet. (Like, I can go months without a sale on books. It’s brutal.)

The hot advice out now is to publish more often. So, I’ve been trying to figure that whole process out. How do I write more, edit more, afford more covers, promote more, and make more money?

Hence, Crank it Out, and my excitement to read it. But I couldn’t even finish the book. Why? Because, even though she makes a big deal about creating quality books, this book felt like she just vomited words onto the page. Offering most of the same advice seen in every life hack, tip, trick, and Motivational Speaker I’ve seen in the last couple of years, and just adding “to be a great writer” instead of entrepreneur. The structure was lacking, there was a lot of repetition, the chapters felt disorganized and cluttered, and I didn’t get anything new. I gave up reading it once I hit the 80% mark.

Perhaps I am suffering a bit of cognitive dissonance, but I feel like I am hearing the same advice that was thrown out to bloggers about five years ago. “Content is King, you need to produce more content!” and then the market got flooded with crappy content (and is still being flooded with crappy content, TBH) and more content is being produced in a day, than the world could even consume. (Yup, I know, very few people will probably even read this blog post.)

And that has been going on with books for awhile now. According to the latest Bowker Report (September 7, 2016), more than 700,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2015, which is an incredible increase of 375% since 2010. Whereas 2.71 billion in units were sold, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP)??Mind you, those billion units sold, include books published since the dawn of time, not just the units published in 2015.

I’m not sure if these figures are only tracking traditional publishing, ISBNs, or all books (including the millions only published on KDP, or using free ISBNs offered from direct publishing outlets like Smashwords and Draft2Digital) But any way that you slice it, the overall sales did not grow, even though the number of books published did grow by leaps and bounds! And the new advice to produce more books for that market of limited readers, I fear, will lead to an ever increasing supply to a dwindling demand.

As more and more authors rush to produce faster, the quality will drop. I’ve already gotten reports from readers that quality is dropping. As a reader myself, I am seeing it. (And not just in indie books. Traditional is taking a hit with the mad rush as well.)

A thorough search doesn’t show where Amazon has reported the number of readers using KU, however, I’ve heard from several readers that they are cancelling because the books aren’t good, there are too many errors (Amazon has made strident efforts to change this, with removing user-reported books from the program) and the cost isn’t worth it as they cannot consume enough books to justify the $9.99 a month.

On the author end, so many authors have jumped on the bandwagon that those who were once making a decent living through KU are now struggling. Many authors who see a bump in reads thanks to promotion, are getting their accounts shut down and books removed, and have to jump through horrendous hoops to get their rights re-instated.

That will only get worse as more authors pump out more books, flooding the market.

So what is the point of this incredibly long post? To be honest, I am sharing the many things flying through my mind, and through the minds of many other authors that I know.

I will admit that I don’t know what I’m doing any more than anyone else does. However, in my gut I don’t feel that the right answer is to throw out more books at a rapid pace, as there isn’t enough demand as is.

I have taken a hard look at my publishing plans and schedule, what I need to do to build up my audience base, and to sell more books.

I chased the idea of publishing more books more quickly, but I feel like all that does is spread my writing too thin. When someone in the 20 Books group asked for those members with more than 20 books on the market, who weren’t making $50K to raise their hand, I was devastated by the overwhelming number who chimed in, confirming my gut instinct.

I have decided that none of that will help me get to my goal. I don’t want to be a flash in the pan, a hack writer chasing the hot thing at that moment, or a NYT Bestseller because I bought thousands of copies myself.

I am going backwards. I am going to re-build my base and publish as wide as possible, getting e-book, paperback, hardback, and audiobook all under the same ISBNs. Then I am going to market as wide as possible, setting up book signings, targeting radio outlets, traditional media, promoting with flyers, at conventions, renting a booth at flee markets, whatever it takes to get my books out there. ??

Stephen King talked about selling books out of the trunk of his car when he first started. I’m going back to that. I’m going to focus on pressing the flesh and meeting the readers, engaging, and promoting.

And for the writing side of it, I will wait until it’s the best that I can produce. I will focus on telling the??story in my heart, not chasing the story that I hope will sell. Will this make me money? I don’t know. I was pursuing this approach for nearly three of the seven years that I’ve been publishing, and was losing money at every turn.

But I know that I can’t stop writing. I also know that I don’t just write for my personal pleasure. I want the world to read. I have to find the way for the world to see me, to know me, for me to stand out in the ever growing crowd of authors who are searching for the same thing.

Will this get me where I want to go? I don’t know. But the one thing I do know is that I cannot give up. I cannot quit. It isn’t in me.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

This article was originally published on Angell???s 4 Authors,??with permission for re-print from the author.

A4A: How to Manage Contracts Efficiently

Hello Lovely Writers,

As an indie author, you become more than just a writer. You must manage every aspect of your business. Part of that is managing contracts.

You need to protect your rights and your book. You also know as a savvy business owner that you cannot do all the work yourself. You will hire many different contractors based on your budget, time, skills, and needs. Everything from editors to cover designers to marketing and Personal Assistants.

You can hope that the people you hire will be professional enough to manage contracts, but in my experience a lot of them work on the digital handshake method.

This leaves you hanging if things don’t work out. You do not want to risk your masterpiece this way!

You should have contracts drawn up for each project and have them signed before any money exchanges hands. ??But if you are working with contractors all over the world, (my cover artist for The Hunters Saga is based out of Greece.) How do you manage contracts? Do you let your work wait for a contract that was sent via certified mail and requires notaries? That could delay project start dates up to a whole week. In the publishing world, that is a long wait.

Why not send a digital contract? They are considered as viable as a physical contract, and in a lot of ways are more secure and don’t require a notary because proving who is who is a lot easier!

Digital contracts are as viable as paper contracts with less hassle. #writerlife #authors Click To Tweet

condesign / Pixabay

I Sign Here is an electronic signature company that you can utilize month-to-month (only $15 a month for a single user) and will provide your e-signature needs. Get your contracts all lined up, and ready to go, get a one month service contract, send out your contracts and get them signed, and then keep them on record. Or you can get a one year service contractor for only $180. That contract comes with 24/7 support services, unlimited contracts signed each month for one user. If you anticipate needing more than 4 contracts (typically 1 book per year) then this is a wise investment to protect your asset and is far cheaper than alternatives such as Docusign, or .E-signature by Adobe

Want to learn more about I Sign Here? Visit their website or contact owner Karl Ward.

with your specific questions. Ready to get your own ISignHere Contract going today? Sign up and get your account within a few hours.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

A4A Sunday: Authors Need to Network

Hello Lovely Writers,
Networking is probably one of the hardest things for authors, and also one of the most important activities we can do besides just sit down and write. Good networking will help with every step of the writing venture.
But we chose writing, a solitary profession, because it’s just not so people-y, right?
I completely understand. I prefer to stand on the outer edge of crowds. I don’t like shaking hands, or meeting people, or traditional networking. It is stressful and uncomfortable.

And most authors feel the exact same way, to one extent or the other. It is a huge part of why so many indie authors struggle. We chose to live with the stories in our heads because the real world is… not so easy.
Some authors are opposed to networking because they feel like other authors are their competition. They feel like other authors are judging their work. (PS, we are. And you do too when you read other writers’ work. Don’t let it stress you out.)
The reality is that authors also tend to be the most vociferous readers. They are who you want to market to as well as the people who are likely to become your biggest supporters.
See, most of us think we don’t like people, but that’s because we have mostly been exposed to people who aren’t like us. People who feel awkward when silence extends more than a few seconds. People who do not want to spend an entire evening talking about the awesome story in your head, or even the latest hot book you read.
But when you network with authors, you find people just like you! We geek out about awesome stories, we want to talk for hours about the character in our head driving us crazy, and we want to listen to you do the same. We love brainstorming marketing ideas, helping with plot holes, and critiquing one another’s work.
I have a ton of great author communities that I am a part of that have helped me keep going on this very solitary journey. They have helped me through every step of my writing adventure. Beta Readers and Critique Partners Facebook group is a great community for bouncing ideas off of, and getting feedback on my work. Our Write Side is another great community which actually provides a lot of aid across the of the writing journey from writing prompts, to marketing help. Books Go Social is another supportive community focusing on how to promote our books through social media. Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo??is not only an amazing event put on by indie authors, it is a great place to connect with other amazing author groups. That’s where I met Joe Compton of GoIndieNow, Kori D. Miller of Back Porch Writer, Angela B. Chrysler of Brain to Books, and connected with tons of amazing authors who help each other out with awesome support, marketing, brainstorming, and sometimes just having the chance to vent!
Support For Indie Authors on Goodreads is an incredible community who help with all aspects of writing as well.
All of these groups are there to provide support in our very solitary venture. Go join some groups today. The authors in this community are so great about not only supporting one another in buying each other’s books, posting reviews, offering opportunities to cross-promote, and giving feedback on any struggles you are having, they are also awesome in letting you geek out, vent, and remember why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.

#Networking is a necessary evil of every #writerslife. Click To Tweet
Until next time,
Keep Writing!
This post was originally published on Angells4Authors, with permission to reprint by the author.

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