Where can #Authors go for help? Guest Post @AuthorsMarketin

I am pleased to welcome a guest to my blog today to share some important information with you.

B. Alan Bourgeois has been in the business of helping authors learn new and innovative ways to market themselves and their work for many years. It’s no secret that there are over a million new books uploaded to Amazon each year. It makes our jobs as amateur marketers even more difficult as we struggle to get our books seen, read and reviewed.

I’ll turn the blog over to Alan and let him share some important facts about marketing your work.

COVID-19 Shines A Light on Inequities for Authors.

While I want to write that COVID-19 has created some issues for authors to sell their books, the reality is that this pandemic has shone a blinding light on what already existed for authors and small presses before the pandemic.  And that is the unfair practices that Amazon and the big five, soon to be the big four publishing houses have established to keep control over the indie author and small presses.

Let’s start with the issue of Retail Prices.

With both Amazon and the Big 5 controlling the general retail price of books sold, indie authors and small press have been faced with the challenge of not being able to adjust their retail price to accommodate the ever-increasing print increases, which over the past five years, has slowly eaten away at an author’s profit margin. If an author increases their retail prices to adjust for printing charges, then they price themselves out of the market. After all, what indie author can order 100,000 copies of a book to compete with a large publishing house?

Now let’s talk about distribution.

Ingram, which is a part of Lighting Source, has a monopoly on distribution for small press and indie authors. With their ability to have books printed in most continents, it’s a good avenue for POD/self-published books. While the Big 5 can afford the warehousing of their books with distributors like Baker/Taylor and others, small press and indie authors cannot afford the high fees they would be charged with the distribution companies. This then forces authors to work with IngramSpark for POD and distribution. Amazon is not a distributor, only a POD for their system.

But Authors Need Book Sales!

This now leaves us with the option of bookstores. We, as authors, count on them to generate sales as well as opportunities to do readings and other programs at these bookstores. The more chances we have of getting face-time with readers, the greater chances we have of sales. But in order to interest bookstores in carrying our books, we need to have a distributor that will accept the book returns, and at a price rate that works for the store to purchase the book and make money from the sell. This brings us back to a distributor like Ingram that prefers, but does not require indie authors to sell their books at a 55% discount off the retail price. You can opt for a lower discount, but if you do, then there is a good chance you will not get picked up by bookstores as it then prices the book out of their profit margin. 

Confused?  Wait, it gets better!

Let’s do an example.  I will keep it very simple with a $10 retail print book (a 6×9, 125 pages, perfect bound, glossy cover). You have it available on Ingram at the 55% discount. The book is then valued at $4.50, while your printing cost as of this writing is $2.73, leaving you a profit of $1.77 before their shipping and handling fees. If you were lucky enough to order 100 copies at once, the cost (including shipping and handling) would come to $3.52, leaving you with a profit of $0.98 per book. Starting to see the challenges?

If you are with Amazon Select, then you may make a little more money for each book sold.  But the downside is that you are missing out on over 30-40% of the customer base (bookstore sales). Is it worth it if you can’t reach the readers?

It should be noted that eBooks and audiobooks were not discussed as examples, as those too have many unfair practices put into place by both Amazon and the Big 5 that have harmed the indie authors and small press. That’s for another post of its own.

The sample is a perfect example of the cycle of frustration that the authors experience constantly and why the Big 5 and Amazon are making more money than the author. The monopoly that both of them have is not fair, but because they control the majority of book sales, they get away with it. The whole approach to controlling the market, is to buy up the competition and price everyone else out of the market, which is why the big 5 is soon to be the Big 4.

What is an author to do?

The key factor is for an author to learn how to market themselves, not just through bookstores or by buying Amazon ads, but through other sources, that yes, do take time and money. Authors must reach out to readers through social media, book festivals, podcasts, and any other events they can find. It’s not just about doing these events; it’s about doing them smart. It’s about thinking outside the box and creating events and concepts that draw readers to the author by giving them a reason to learn about the authors’ books and a reason to buy them.

Editing, proofreading, cover design, are essential key elements that authors should always invest in, to be competitive and to offer a product that is of high quality. A major mistake authors make is not investing in these key elements and ending up with a poorly written novel.

What COVID-19 has done, is bring these unfair issues to light, and force authors to think outside the box on ways to market and sell their books. It encourages authors to find partnerships that help them to succeed, as well as support their fellow authors.  As a community of one million authors, it allows indie authors and small press to change the unfair practices and shape the future.

It is up to an author to find organizations, events, and programs that help them to cost-effectively market their books so they can succeed. This also includes working with bookstores like IndieLector.Store, an online bookstore that pays authors up to 80% from their book sales, while also teaming up with an organization that teaches authors how to better market and sell their books, AuthorsMarketingGuild.com

By working through these programs, authors have a greater chance of success and at the same time, can educate readers on the value of buying books from places that help them to earn a fair living.

With any growth process, it is a matter of educating people about alternatives that help everyone grow stronger and better. It takes people getting angry at the status quo, and being willing to change it. Are you angry enough? Are you tired of not earning enough money from your book sales to make a fair living? You can be part of the change, or you can stay comfortable where you are and accept the results. It comes down to how much you value your work.

B Alan Bourgeois is the founder of several organizations and nonprofits designed to help authors to succeed in a variety of ways.  He is an award-winning author and speaker on the subject of marketing for authors. You can learn more about his careers, writing and speaking at BourgeoisMedia.com

Thank you, Alan, for this important message!

If you are interested, Alan has a book, “Authors Revolution Workbook,” which gives a step-by-step guide to successful marketing.

A New WIN!

I am super excited that my entry, “Magic,” won in this short story contest sponsored by D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Texas, Inc.!

Volume V of short stories from Texas authors is available for pre-order!

Here is a snippet from my story:

A loud whinny cut through the cold Montana air, followed by a snort and a hoof pawing on the wood.

Frank cursed and eased the front door open two inches. He peered out with one eye. A saddled brown pony with no rider stamped his foot and nickered.

“Who’s out there?” Frank yelled again.

The horse tossed his head and let out a long whinny.

Frank swung the door open wide and stepped out into the waning daylight, gun cocked and aimed.

The horse backed off the porch and continued to toss his head and nicker.

When Frank saw no one, he stepped off the porch and grabbed the horse’s trailing reins. “Whoa. Good boy.” He patted the horse’s thick neck.

“Where’s your rider?”

The horse tried to pull away and reared up on his hind legs.

“Whoa, boy. Whoa.” Frank kept a tight grip on the leather.

The horse jerked against Frank’s hold and whinnied.

“You’re trying to tell me something, aren’t you, boy?” His gut told him someone was in trouble. “All right. I’ll go with you, you stubborn horse. First I’ve got to get my coat and gloves.”

I hope that snippet intrigues you enough to want to know more about Frank and this horse that can almost talk!

Purchase Link

This collection of stories is available exclusively through the Indie Lector Store and $2.00 from each purchase goes to help put books in Title One Schools and small libraries.

For some of you who have asked, the national organization, Authors Marketing Guild is up and running! The mission of this organization is to educate authors on effective ways to market their work as well as set up events and programs to help authors find new readers!

Curious to know more? Take a look here!

AND, one more thing…(Yes, you can call me Colombo!) 🙂

Not only will my winning short story be featured in Vol V of Short Stories by Texas Authors, but will also be included in a national publication, entitled Short Stories by Indie Authors!

This book is available in ePub and Kindle formats.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Do Not Disturb

I picked this up off an author’s table at a recent book festival, the Take 190 Book Festival held in Killeen, Tx.

I wanted to share it with you. It is a replica of a hotel “Do Not Disturb Sign” only with a reading message. I thought it was a great marketing ploy!

This was on Author Diane Dresbeck‘s table

Have an awesome Wednesday!!

Chance to Win! @IndieBeacon @DEARTexasRead

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THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO ANY AUTHOR IN THE WORLD! 

A special radio show is scheduled for February 14, 2019.

Win a chance to be on a show plus, receive extra promotion and advertising for this Valentine’s Day Special. This is open to any author in any genre. You do not have to be a member of the Texas Association of Authors to enter! 

Publicity is what every author needs and wants. And, an international radio show is one of the best platforms available. 

Indie Beacon Radio was created out of DEAR Texas Radio and has on average 2,000 listeners on all of its various platforms. Now, as part of the iHeart Radio, we are expanding Indie Beacon Radio by doing both Audio and Video Live.

On February 14, 2019 we will be doing extra promotion, press, etc., for the lucky author scheduled for this special event. We have also turned this event into a fundraiser to continue our various literacy programs with DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)/Indie Texas.

To be the selected author for this special event, we are offering a chance to purchase a tax-deductible raffle ticket for $5.00 each. Simply follow the link and select which hostess you’d prefer, then purchase the ticket.    http://Radio.IndieBeacon.com 

Of course, you can purchase as many tickets as you would like. You may purchase one ticket at a time, of IF you would like more then one ticket, simply email us the Host/Hostess name you would like to have interview you and how many tickets you would like to info@dearindie.org

The winner will be selected on January 31, 2019. Tickets are available now here:  http://indiebeacon.com/index.php/services/services-radio-show/radio-show-interviews

Still on the fence? Here are 14 reasons why you should participate:

  1. Supporting Literacy
  2. Get Worldwide Exposure
  3. Increase your Social Media Following
  4. Turn Listeners into Fans
  5. Sell Books
  6. Grow your Author Platform
  7. Increase Visitors to your Website
  8. Raise your Amazon Rankings
  9. Get Reviews
  10. Get a Tax Write-off for your Purchase
  11. Free Advertising that Lasts for Years
  12. Have Fun!
  13. Any Author Anywhere has a Chance to Win
  14. Gain Exposure to New Groups Promoted to for this Show

Purchase before December 31st to get your 2018 deduction!

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Hill Country Writing Symposium

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Hello, fellow Texas authors! I want to make you aware of, and invite you to, a Writing Symposium in Comfort, Texas September 14 – 16, 2017.

Yes, that is SOON!!

I will be presenting two separate workshops at this event to be held at the Comfort Public Library. If you are anywhere near this area and wish to hone your writing skills through hands-on workshops, check this out.

Hill Country Writing Symposium – Fall Edition

September 14-16, 2017

Comfort Public Library

701 High St, Comfort, TX 78013

Thursday, September 14, 2017 – Meet & Greet Reception

7 PM to 9 PM

More information on location to follow.

Friday, September 15, 2017

9 AM Nature Writing

10 AM Five Forms to Use to Awaken the Poet in You

11 AM Writing for Non-Fiction

Noon – Lunch on your own

1 PM How Many Ways Can You Say ____?

2 PM Writing for Young Audiences

3 PM Journaling

4 PM Editing 101

Saturday, September 16, 2017

10 AM Writing for Different Media

11 AM Marketing 101 – Renegade Style

Noon – Lunch on your own

1-4 PM Book Festival in Library

 

Attendee Fees – Check options below for any discounts that may already be applied.

Regular Purchase $65 All Inclusive

10 Sessions plus Cocktail Reception

Plus 1 Free book from a presenter of their choice.

(hotel, food, misc at attendee’s own expense)

REGISTER HERE

Libraries in Hurricane Harvey’s Path

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Hurricane Harvey left SO much destruction in its path and that didn’t exclude libraries along the coast.

Most small libraries have little outside funding and depend on donations to survive.

PLEASE dig deep into your pockets and help these libraries recover. Your donations are tax deductible.

Here is the link: Hurricane Harvey

This is just one of the many ways the Texas Association of Authors helps.

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Texas Association of Authors – Did you Know?

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I’ve been a member of the Texas Association of Authors for several years and for Indie Authors living in Texas, you won’t find more a comprehensive marketing avenue.

HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT TXAUTHORS

TxAuthors was created in the summer of 2011 and continues to expand every year.  Texas has an estimated 8,400 published authors and that number grows every year.
In 2016, we estimated our in-person outreach to 30,000 people, in addition to our Social Media following of over 25,000 people, to be a great value and resource in helping you get the word out about you and your book(s).
With each year, we continue to increase our outreach not only within the state but around the world.This alone is worth the membership price!
The only requirement for membership is one of the following items:
1 – You live in Texas and are a published author or
2 – Your heart is in Texas and you are a published author.
Below is everything that is included in our regular membership.
Plus, notice of new and exciting events that we create to help you market yourself and sell your books.
  • Listing and ability to sell your book(s)on our bookstore website  http://Books.TxAuthors.com 
  • Participation in the DEAR Texas event -listed on the website http://DearTexas.info
  • Dear Texas Radio Interview – No Less than 2 times in a calendar year.  The show is recorded live and then distributed as a Podcast on several channels.
  • Listing on the Texas Authors Institute of History website with the opportunity to sell your book(s).
  • Having your book(s) available for sale in our Pop-Up traveling bookstore. (In 2016 we did 15 events across the state of Texas)
  • Access to the Members Only section of this website that has articles, links, and connections to a variety of items and people to help you grow in marketing your work.
  • Major discounts on events and programs sponsored by TxAuthors, which includes our Annual Book Contest, Short Story Contest, Authors Marketing(http://Authors.Marketing) event and other programs.
  • Access to Book Festival events at extremely low discounts
  • Assistance in videotaping a book reading or interview for use on YouTube
  • Listing on our YouTube channels
  • Printing discounts for marketing materials by a Texas printer
  • Weekly email newsletters with the latest information about TxAuthors and informative articles to help you succeed
  • Use of eBook Download Card system to sell Mobi & ePub books yourself and make more money.
  • Monthly tweets on 25 social media sites to over 30,000 followers and growing by 100 followers per week
  • Plus access to the Book Festival Network program which increases your exposure at book festivals and on the internet.
All of the above services are included in your membership.  Individually, you could spend up to $1,500 per year or more.  The cost of these services and more is only $125 for your first-year membership. We do offer payment plans.
TxAuthors is designed to help YOU save money and time while gaining exposure, which equates to the opportunity for more book sales.

Book Awards!

It’s that time of year when book awards are announced and I am thrilled beyond words that TWO of my books have received FIRST PLACE awards from the TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF AUTHORS! 

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART received a First Place Award in the Biography Fiction Category.

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Til Death Do Us Part is the fourth and final book in my series of true stories about a Texas musician who was a pioneer in the outlaw music movement long before it had a name.

Blurb:  Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did.
Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin. His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina.
When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.
This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them.
Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES received a FIRST PLACE award in the POETRY AND ART cagetory.

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I am SO proud of this award. When I decided to publish this book, people told me, “Poetry doesn’t sell.” But, I didn’t publish it to sell thousands of copies (although, of course I’d be thrilled about that). I published it because it is such an incredibly beautiful expression of a man’s heart and soul not only through words, but through art. And, I believe there are others struggling who can find encouragement and hope within the pages of this book.

When Rick Sikes found himself inside the walls of Leavenworth prison, with a long sentence ahead, he had some decisions to make. It took several years, but he finally made up his mind to think and act positive in a negative situation. He became determined to accomplish something worthwhile even though imprisoned. And, this book is just one of the things he completed. The artwork is what he called Pen and Ink drawings, but the technical description is Pointillism. Thousands of tiny dots made with a simple ink pen are what make up the art.

I hope you’ll take a look at all of my books. You can find them all on Amazon and on my website at http://www.jansikes.com

Please join me this evening for an interview on DEAR Texas radio, at 7 pm CST when I’ll talk about these books and more! Here is the link. DEAR Texas Blog Talk Radio

See you there!!

Follow Jan on Twitter    Facebook    Website    LinkedIn     Instagram     Pinterest

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Made It Into the TOP 5!

What a pleasant surprise to find this video in my Inbox this morning from the Texas Association of Authors! 

I made it into the TOP FIVE Bestselling Authors list.

 

What is TxAuthors?

Very simply put, it is a non-profit organization created to assist Indie Authors in Texas with the marketing of their books and this is done in a variety of ways.

  • DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas
  • Texas Authors Institute of History (A museum dedicated to preserving Texas Literary History)
  • Lone Star Book Festival
  • Representation to the American Library Association as well as TLA
  • Website and Social Media support
  • A variety of Book Festivals held across the Lonestar state
  • Opportunity for readings in Libraries and Indie Book Stores
  • Writing Contests
  • Virtual Bookstore as well as a traveling Bookstore
  • Dedicated work with Texas Government officials for author recognition
  • BlogTalk Radio Shows

This is simply a brief list of ways that the Texas Association of Authors supports authors who live in the State of Texas, or as the founder of the organization says, whose heart is in Texas.

If you think this organization may be helpful to you, I invite you to take a look and decide for yourself.

In the meantime, I am ecstatic that I made the TOP FIVE list of Bestselling Authors in the organization!

 

Short Stories by TEXAS AUTHORS

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This is a collection of short stories from winning entries in a contest sponsored by the Texas Association of Authors and DEAR Texas.

I am honored to have a short story, MOUNTAIN LAUREL,  published within the covers of this book along with other talented Texas authors!

Reviews are starting to come in. Here are a few.

Ruthie Jones reviewed “A Private War”

“Johnny shook the doorknob and when it did not turn, he put his shoulder to the door.


And then he was filling the space between them and reaching for her arm.
The soft flesh yielded so easily. She watched it swell between his fingers.
When her eyes flashed up at him, she was smiling.”

~ from A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford (First Place for Fiction/Suspense)

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked A Private War to read for a bonus review, but wowza! I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that when a woman has had enough, she’s had enough! Domestic violence and living in fear of someone who is supposed to have your back is horrifying and unfortunately all too real for many people. But what happens when the abuser goes off to war, providing you with some much-needed peace? What happens when the one who actually has your back is a German Shepherd that followed you home one day? What happens when the abuser returns from war drunk and full of demands?

A Private War by Mary Bryan Stafford is just one of the amazing stories in this book.

Storybook Reviews reviewed “Homecoming Queen”

I chose one of the short stories to read just to get a flair for what might be included in this book.  As they are all short stories I don’t think they will take long to read, in fact the story I chose, Homecoming Queen (YA) took maybe 5 minutes to read.  Great when you just need a little something and don’t have a lot of time.

Homecoming Queen is about a young woman, Pam, that loses her life in an auto accident and is learning how to cross others over when it is their time.  In this story, there are two older ladies in a hospital room and one is ready to go and the other is not…and of course it is the one that is not ready to go that is being called home.  As is with most people that are younger, they do not understand there is a method to all the madness and why one person is chosen over another.  While the story is short, it is also poignant and has a lesson for us.

I can’t wait to read the other stories!

Hall Ways reviewed “John Sleeps”

“Night pounced hungrily upon the woods, gobbling up all remaining glimmers of light the sun had left behind.”

— from John Sleeps by David Hughes

Hall Ways Review: I just had to take a peek — just one story — inside Short Stories by Texas Authors, and I scored! John Sleeps, winning story in the horror category, is super creepy and conjures up thoughts of spooky stories told around the campfire. Hughes makes his words count and does an amazing job of building up dread, doom, and gloom as the main character seeks safety from . . . well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

If this story is any indicator of the caliber of stories and quality of writing in Short Stories by Texas Authors, readers are going to be doing a major happy dance. I can’t wait to read more.

Chapter Break Blog reviewed “Todd”

Here’s quick review of one of the short stories in this collection, Todd by Fern Brady. This selection won First Prize in the Fiction/Science category. And it was a wild ride for being a short story! Toddtakes place in an unspecified “future” time. A time where Big Brother watches every aspect of daily life, and all the fun things have been banned. Todd is on an illegal quest for some cigarettes. The story had my heart racing while we follow Todd, wondering if he’ll succeed or not. And the very abrupt, but also very clear-cut ending was a stunner. One that works really well as social commentary for both no smoking, and not letting Big Brother take over our lives.

Got your interest? Grab your copy and enjoy all of the stories! Click here to order. Also available on Amazon

ALL proceeds go to support DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas literacy programs. 

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The Texas Association of Authors is a progressive and innovative non-profit organization created to help Texas authors market their books. I invite you to take a look at the many programs offered through TxAuthors.

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