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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Alberta—
The easiest way to find a blog on any topic is to use Technorati. Search the site for substance abuse or, in your case, be more specific and search for alcohol abuse. It will list all the blogs that deal with your subject.

Pay particular attention to the Authority ranking. The Authority ranking tells you how highly valued the blog is on that particular subject. The higher the Authority, the better.
Frank you do not know how much I appreciate this location you are giving me. I had absolutely no idea where to look up subjects for blogs.

This will be my target next week.
Hi Paradise,

What nice advice. I'm working on polishing the sequel and should be trying to schedule talks. I have a large one coming up December 12th at the Boston Chapter of the Magnificat, a Catholic Woman's Ministry in Medway, MA. I talked at their Providence, Rhode Island location last February and that's where the president of the ministry heard me talk. She invited me to talk at hers.

I keep waiting to finish the sequel and should schedule others. I sent a letter to the Pentagon in Washington, believe it or not. I got a letter back from a Brigadier General who was sending my info to their department that orders books. I'm trying to reach the service branches because of the high alcoholic problems.

I've got a list of Universities and names of the directors that got funds for a substance abuse program and I'm going to be sending them out. I've been told to call on prisons. I was on vacation and found a newspaper about a woman who is running a program in one around my area because she believes a high percentage of the prisoners problems stem for substance abuse.

I'm going to be spending days just mailing them out. I have to get out there. A radio promotion show called me from Tampa, Florida but wants $3,700 for 15 interviews. I'd love it, but where do I get that kind of money.

Sorry to go on so much. The ideas are there but I need to follow-up and get the letters out. The standard letter is done.

Thanks for you help as always!
Alberta
Alberta—
Don't pay for interviews. The media is starved for guests. There is no need to pay for something you can get for free yourself.

Start with local media (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc.). It's typically easier to contact these media and to get booked. It also helps that you live in the community they reach. Put a "local" slant on your story. For instance, quote local substance abuse statistics when making your pitch to the editor or producer.

Good luck and good promoting!
Thank you, Frank. I will look up the statistics in the area. Never thought of doing this. I present the fact that my story is about our lives living within the interviews. This way the story is local as well as the author.

I having two locations scheduling me a second time with an interview on my "new" book; one cable TV show and a radio show. Another radio show that interviewed me in another area is reviewing my book to have me on again, too.

My cable interview is on www.youtube.com. It's in two parts. The video is under my name, Alberta Sequeira. I have to find out if tags can be put on the video so it will get more hits than I'm receiving.
The biggest challenges for a POD book author, as you no doubt already know, include . . . obtaining credible reviews . . . getting chain bookstores to stock it (other than on consignment for 40 percent) . . . weeding through indie sales sites for "the right ones" . . . vetting the glut of Internet pitches from all angles re book sales and promotions . . . ascertaining which book awards are worth the cost and effort . . . pitting it, even though it is superior, against books by well-known authors . . . keeping expectations high despite massive competition (look up the number of new books published annually by traditional publishers, POD authors, and self-published authors, then ignore it or you'll go batty) . . . working on your next book while marketing the last one(s) . . . accent the positives: fulfillment, etc. and downplay the negatives: becoming a "hundredaire" rather than a millionaire . . . ???
Yes, a BIG challenge. Last month, I thought that my book was finally starting to sell regularly on Amazon, apart from any special promotion on my part. But this month, sales are slim.

I've pretty much given up trying to get it into bookstores, agreeing with Poynter that "bookstores are lousy places to sell books," especially if you're a nobody (like me) set on a shelf next to high profile, high platform authors.

I'm going through Jud's brand new book (came out last month), HOW TO MAKE REAL MONEY SELLING BOOKS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE BOOK PUBLISHERS' WORLD OF SPECIAL SALES. Some overlap with his earlier book, Beyond the Bookstore, but updated. Lots of great ideas here.
I wouldn't rule out bookstores altogether. Each author needs to know their own field because there are many specialized bookstores that might be only too happy to carry your book.

Years ago when I came out with my first self-published book it was the only book on its subject and I marketed it extensively to "spiritual" and "new age" bookstores where it established a place on the shelf and was re-order over and over, in print continuously for 15 years.

So every book is different and you have to become an expert on where the people are who are likely to be interested in your subject, and sell it there!

But for chains (which is what most people think of when you say "bookstore") for most self-published authors it is pretty hopeless. On the other hand, this lets you concentrate where your efforts will be more productive.

Chain stores are also notorious for big orders and huge returns. You get very little time to establish any sales. In a couple of months if your book doesn't sell, it will be returned. So, you think you've struck it rich when you get those huge orders, then you realize it will end up costing you money to deal with all the returns. That's why Dan Poynter doesn't recommend it.
Question: Is it true, that no matter how or where you publish it is primarily up to the author to do the marketing? I am very discouraged today. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am a first time author. It was not my life long dream to write a book, become famous or get rich. The book I am writing is a project I became compelled to write. Honestly, It is a lot of work and a difficult task. I am not so arrogant to think that I could possibly master the craft of writing simply because I was compelled to "tell a story." I have hired editors and ghostwriters, all of whom hold PhDs in English or have been previously published. I am exteremely frustrated today. the contract which I am under states no outside artwork. It is true..when I originaly discused the project there was no need for illistrations. Now an illistrator who is published worldwide has taken an interest in the project and would like to insert some of her work. My publisher is giving me a tough time about it. I would presume someone of her standing would only lend credibility and notority to the work? Isnt it all about "sales" in the publishing world? I just dont get it? I have been been an entertainment publisist and markeing expert for 20 years and I just can not see the reasoning behind the hassel.
Shawna,

What is your publisher's explanation for rejecting the artwork? Does it add to the printing cost, and thus make the profit margin potentially smaller? Have they worked with artists in the past who held up the production schedule? Surely there's some reason behind their stance, since otherwise I'd think that artwork would certainly enhance a book.

As I was getting my latest book ready for publication, it struck me how many decisions had to be made. The size of the book, size of the type, cover art, index?, type of interior design, title, publishing company, etc. If you self-publish, you have the privilege and responsibility of making the final decision on all of these. If you get a publisher, it's a give and take.

On my first book, the publisher changed the title to a title I liked much less than the one I'd chosen. Yet today, 16 years later, I'm so glad that they overruled me on the title. The rights have reverted back to me and I self-published on Amazon. Turns out that the title they chose is perfect for capturing searches for my subject area on Amazon!

It's Sunday, so let me put it in spiritual terms. One of my favorite singer/songwriters put it this way:

Just keep doin' your best
Pray that it's blest
And God will take care of the rest

When I disagree with a publisher, I think it's important to let them know why I disagree; but ultimately, I've got to leave it in the hands of God to keep them from screwing things up.

Publishing a book is a long, arduous process, often accompanied by discouragements and setbacks. That's why so few writers become authors. You're doing great! Hang in there and one day you'll be staring in disbelief at a book that has your name on it.

"...casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)
Thank you, you are right about leaving this in Gods hands...after all it was his idea! This is a spiritual assignment. As I mentioned prior writing a book was not a life long dream and it is a lot of work.


"Publishing a book is a long, arduous process, often accompanied by discouragements and setbacks. That's why so few writers become authors"

I have heard this many times over and I have also read that literary agents and publishers are overwhelmed with submissions? How can both exist?

I have also read that some of the best books have been rejected by agents and publishers.

My author acquisition person suggested i submit the artwork in black and white to design and see what happens. The artwork is complete, some of the illustrations where done by Peaco Todd prior and just happen to fit the project well.
With my publisher, black and white illustrations didn't cause any increase in production cost. Had I gone with color, it would have been exorbitant and thus difficult to sell at the price I would have had to charge.

Concerning your question about publicity, if you're a big-time author with a big-time publisher, your best publicity is probably to write your next book. For the rest of us, we probably need to be involved on some level. But there are so many ways to publicize books that it's typically not to hard to find ways to be involved that are fun, rewarding and fit with our personality and strengths.

I'll be doing a seminar entitled "Sell More Books: Cheap, Unobnoxious Tactics that Actually Work for Shy Authors and Non-Celebrities" at an upcoming Fall conference with the Georgia Writers Association. I'll make my extensive notes available free of charge on the Web. If you think it might be helpful, remind me in a month or so and I'll give everyone a link.

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