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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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Here's my duplicate reply to your same question in another forum here:

It's not reviews you want. You want interviews. Interviews will sell many more books than bland reviews.

Connect with general interest magazines, senior citizen magazines, and magazines you think your audience reads.

For contact information on many major magazines (and a few newspapers), see http://www.magagenie.com.

I suggest one key resource: USA Today Life section - the Friday section on travel. Suggest 10 Key Places Senior Citizens Would Really Like or something like that. They do a feature every Friday on 10 places to see, be, visit, kiss at, eat at, etc. Give it a senior spin.

Hi Patrick,

 

Do you have a website I could check out to learn more about you and your book?

 

Chris Simeral

http://www.TheAuthorsEdge.com

My biggest challenges are marketing and patience. I published my book Neiko's Five Land Adventure and its sequel Escape From Ancient Egypt in 2009 with a crappy "big box" publisher but I pulled "Neiko" out and republished it at a good subsidy publisher and it is now in paperback and digital the second book I'm going to pull out and redo next year. I had written this book and drew some of the characters at age 16 which was about 15 years ago now; I wrote "Egypt" right after that. When I began writing, I didn't really consider getting anything published. I started it for fun and as a means to return to my childhood fantasy worlds I had since I was about 4 or 5--I have always had a vivid imagination and had deep thoughts. My thoughts were so deep that I asked my mother if fish drank water at age 4, and, of course, my mother didn't know-lol. I didn't find out the answer to that until college biology, and the answer is yes they do, and I also know the answer to the second question that kids always ask which is 'why?' Family and friends and some strangers in the community saw the books and said I should get them published. I go to a writer's conference with a friend at age 21 and discover I had talent by people like Dennis Hensley; he was my biggest impact and inspiration of getting involved in publishing in addition to family and friends and others. I go home and try pitching to publishers and agents with no success. I give up and go to college the next fall.

 

I graduate and save money and publish in 2009 only to get set back and ripped off. Since signing on with this new publisher I have had better success, but I'm still not where I want to be and I know it's going to take some time since the new publisher has only had it out since Sept 2010. I just now need to get my second one free so I can hope to publish more of my saga that I have been writing since age 16, which I have completed about 13 of them and I am still writing.

 

As far as my marketing is concerned I'm still a bit in the learning curve and some things I didn't know about upon publishing, but what I learn now can make a difference one I get Escape from Ancient Egypt out of the "big box".  I have been lucky enough to get a few local bookstore signings since the CRNs have taken a little interest in me, especially one in particular. I have been doing and will do some other unconventional methods to sell signed copies like parties, yard sales, local business, and parking lot sales. I am trying to get involved in a local business networking group. I also have been working on the internet with social networking, book groups like goodreads and Bookbuzzr and may do a blog tour and a virtual book tour a little bit later. In the meantime I am trying to collect a few reviews and interviews along the way. I have been able to do this with some of my friends on the this network and help them out too, and I've seen a couple of them on this thread and they have given me some professional insight about my work besides my other fans I have made locally, and some of them from my target age group. I've been busy but it isn't any less difficult. Also looking for new ideas on promotion or any help.

 

If anyone is wondering about my book it is a YA fantasy/sci-fi adventure, and it has elements of other genres mixed in with it with comedy. I broke the mold a bit when I wrote it because I read and like multiple genres and I didn't like being in the bounds of just one. It is mainly for YAs but adults have enjoyed it as well. It is book one of the saga. To know more about me, my two published books and saga can go to my first (and right now only) blog interview with UL Harper at www.ulharper.com/blog. It's all there so I don't drown people with a ton of info at once.

My biggest frustration is trying to obtain shelf space.  The second is the lack of funding for advertisting. I have done most of what they tell writers to do, such as find a well known author to endorse you, get reviews and have unique subject matter, but the public still puts a great deal of stock in NY book publishers. I know the book stores favor them. The one book that has consistant sales in the biography on the Singing Nun.  

Hi D.A.,

 

I took a look at your website to check out the info about the biography of the Singing Nun (having never heard of her) and decided to run some keyword research to see what kind of interest there is out there.

 

I have to admit to being surprised to find that several hundred people PER DAY are searching for information on her, or on her music. A decent number of people are even looking for the lyrics to Dominique.

 

That's Good News, Part 1.

 

Here's Good News, Part 2...

 

There is virtually NO COMPETITION whatsoever for these keywords on the advertising (i.e. the pay-per-click) side of things, which means you could probably get lots of very cheap clicks from Google for people searching for information on her.

 

There are also lots of opportunities to get natural rankings in the search engines for these keywords. A couple YouTube videos are in the top 5, which means if YOU create a YouTube video, you could slide right in there and have a piece of content ranked on page 1 in short order.

 

Point is...

 

The public wants what they want, whether it's from a NY publisher or some random guy working out of his basement. When you can reach readers DIRECTLY who are ALREADY interested in your topic, making that sale is a heck of a lot easier. And you can do this over and over and over again online. If a couple hundred people are searching for information on the Singing Nun every day, this is a pretty good indication of the possibilities available to you.

 

Chris Simeral

http://www.TheAuthorsEdge.com

If you think e-book prices in the UK and DE are high, check out your paper book. I Googled some of my books in the European marketplace and you'd think they were rare volumes bound in leather. Now it's really silly as an e-book, a product that has virtually no overhead cost except building the webpage to promote it and the server storage space. I'm surprised the charge is so high. Maybe there is a valid reason, but I can't see it.

As far as the pulp fiction goes, pushing paper trade volumes is really a waste of time for the less than famous or ones that aren't apart of the mainstream distribution system. Discretionary spending is at an all time low. This is the beauty of the e-book. It's there 24/7, worldwide, Amazon does the marketing and display; it's a perfect world for the author that would rather write than sit in a folding chair all day at a book signing. Bravo Kindle.

One of my biggest challenges is that I live on the most remote island in the world - Kauai, in Hawaii. We have one book store and it's a used book store, although they allow local writers of new books to have book signings. They are wonderful people!

 

So, living on this island means all my promotion is done on the Internet or when I travel once a year. Attending writing conferences are out of the question because of the travel involved. Actually, all in person activities are nil if not local.

 

There is one stigma about Hawaii that I have difficulty accepting. If your book is not about Hawaii, the local libraries may not accept them, free or not. Most magazines and publications want travel type articles that glorify The Islands. Although some say they will accept any good story, that's not really the case. They must be related to Hawaii. The local newspaper publishes some of my articles about writing from time to time. That helps.

 

Am not complaining, just stating how difficult it is living here and promoting one's books. But I don't give up easily.

I noticed that about Hawaii when I visited 15 years ago. A lot of that probably has to do with how dependent Hawaii is on the tourist trade.

But there is a ton of things you can do on the Internet to market your books and ebooks. Marketing via social networks, videos, blogs, guest blogs, article writing, SEO, podcasts, Internet radio shows, etc. I know a good number of mainland authors who do most of their marketing via the Internet.

Indeed, that's what I do. I'm three hours away from an airport or large city (Albuquerque, New Mexico). I do five or ten speeches every year, but all my other marketing is via the Internet.

John Kremer, founder, The Book Marketing Network

author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and the 15,000 Eyeballs Internet Marketing course.

Thank you, John. Yes, I use the internet as much as possible. Have a monster website - writeanygenre.com - that not only promotes my books but teaches writing from creative writing to business writing. Have also written a nonfiction reference, Write it Right - Tips for Authors. It's received 5-star reviews on smashwords. My articles appear in the local newspaper and also many sites and blogs. My books and stories have won awards.

 

I used to travel to the mainland. Between Borders and B. Dalton in California, Nevada and Arizona, I have probably done a dozen book signings, not to mention a dozen local ones - till Borders closed. I always give a presentation with the signings, if allowed. Have done radio interviews but find my hearing is not that great. I could go on and on, have done so much and will keep doing it because I love making contacts. Still, book sales have dropped off. Maybe it's just time to publish another. A new book always incites interest in previous books, especially when it's a sequel and my next book is a sequel to River Bones, my award-winner.

Hi Mary,

 

I checked out your website and have to say that the amount of information you offer there is fantastic. You could -- and should ;) -- be "killing it" online. Social networking is nice, but there are faster, easier, and more effective ways to drive tons of qualified buyers to your site.

 

It doesn't matter if you're isolated or not. You can bring the world to you!

 

With the vast amount of information you offer, I would suspect there are hundreds if not thousands of keywords you could target through effective SEO and pay-per-click advertising (which can be very cheap if you know where to look).

 

You could easily break down your site into all of the areas you cover, do some really simple optimization (adding some content and fixing a few "on-page" factors what will help with your rankings), and then offer specific courses, consulting, ebooks, etc. that cover one topic and one topic only.

 

I could go on and on, but those are a few simple things to think about.

 

Chris Simeral

http://www.TheAuthorsEdge.com

Personally Bill, my biggest challenge is generating buzz for my own work.
My biggest challenge so far is actually selling copies. Enough people want to read the free version, but my book has been out since May 1st, and so far I haven't sold a single copy. I know I shouldn't write for sales, and I don't, but it would be nice to sell at least one copy.

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