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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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I am also a firt time writer and NOT REALLY a writer,
I just needed to get my story out to help or save someone else's life.
I feel bad that I cannot contribute to the discussions ABOUT writing or
anything to do with writing, marketing etc, because I just don't anything
about it. I came to LEARN from the REAL AUTHORS.
I know I will learn a lot from all the wonderful wonderful things
I have read ALREADY.
Hi Steve,

I had a site I built in RapidWeaver, which is a pretty nice tool and easy to use drag-and-drop website builder, but it's only for Mac. Problem was I got bored by the site and it was hard to update.

Since I wanted to start blogging, I've switched over to a "blog site" which, as you say, incorporates all the "pages" from my old site but is based around the Wordpress content management system.

This makes it topical, incredibly easy to update any time you want. Although I am still in the development stage you can take a look to get an idea of how this kind of hybrid site works at: www.marinbookworksblog.com. Eventually I will put a header image up and some more tabs, but you can get an idea of what the possibilities are.

Hope this helps.

Joel
Hi Bill,

When I was first self published, before I sold my book to a large publisher in NY, I sent out dozens of books for review for both radio and book festivals. I soon found find out that these people were reselling my book and getting list price on Amazon.

There is a little black market going on at the expense of the authors going on that no one talks about.
I solved the problem of these people reselling my book by buying a large stamp that says, "Complimentary Copy - Not For Resale" and stamp that 4 or 5 times inside each book that I give away. I would encourage all authors to protect themselves and do the same.
Hi Luellen, Great advice and one that I have run into. I also found someone in Jamaica that was reprinting my "In search of Paradise" 1979 . Your advice is very good and should be well taken by our readers here. From time to time, I give several copies to Chris OConner at Book Talk and he gives them away after advertising them for a month. chris@booktalk.org I don't know what the people do with them that get them as prizes, but the advertisements are well worth the effort.

Good luck and thanks for the good advice. Dr Robert E McGinnis
Good suggestion!

Having a nonfiction (personal finance) book by a small publisher, I didn't think that my book would get reviews by general book reviewers in the media, so I found columnists on personal finance and newsletters on personal finance. Rather than send books to them initially, I sent an e-mail describing the book and asking if they'd like a copy for potential review. Although I never stamped anything in the book, out of about 300 copies sent out, I only have two for sale as used on Amazon. But then again, maybe they're selling in other outlets. I've heard others warn us to stamp them as you suggest.
Luellen—
While it is impossible to completely stop review copies being sold on Amazon, EBay, etc., your solution is a good one. A variation on your idea may be slightly better.

Rather than buying a stamp for the inside of the book, buy a stamp the width of the book and stamp the on the three outside edges of the book (not the spine, obviously). The stamp costs only about $6, but it is a worthwhile investment. I find using red ink works better than black ink for the stamp.
Bill,

Good idea, and I think Dan Poynter has been suggesting something similar for quite a while.

One of New York City's best used book stores was a haven for these review books, and reviewers would show up with cartons and cartons of books, sell them for about 1/4 of the retail, and the store would resell them for about 1/2 retail. They even had a special wall of shelves marked "Reviewer Copies"! Everyone in the book business knew about it but, really, what are the reviewers supposed to do? It was kind of tolerated because there just weren't enough books to worry about and the publishers couldn't stop it anyway.
Joel—
Great pickup on Dan Poynter. Yes, he suggests the very thing I recommended. That's no coincidence. I am a disciple of Dan Poynter.
Bill,

Thanks. When I published my first book in 1986, Dan's book was my bible. I wore it out, and later asked Dan why he didn't bind them better because the pages would fall out from the glue binding. He just laughed, said something about getting the latest edition. Great guy, really.

By the way, most of the books at that bookstore had big red "Review Copy--Not For Resale" stamps. I think it added to the cachet for the book buyers.
Hi everyone,

I’m just now able to join in the discussions. I’m running way behind on completing my second novel and getting it to the publisher so very little time to do anything. I think my biggest challenge is just getting publicity for my book. I’m published with a small press and it doesn’t have the distribution of the larger houses.

On another note, I never thought about promo copies of my book being sold after the reviewer is done with it. Sounds like it’s time to invest in a stamp. Thanks for the advice.
Ronald—
Wow! Your second novel. Congratulations!

There's a symbiotic relationship between publicity for your book and distribution. Being with a small publisher doesn't impact your situation one way or the other. Let me explain.

Your book needs a certain amount of distribution so readers can buy it. For some titles, this may be Amazon and no other distribution channels. For other titles, distribution may mean brick & mortar bookstores, too. And for still other titles, large volume sales may be the only distribution channel necessary (think Home Shopping Network or QVC).

So long as your book has some distribution where readers can buy it, then publicity can follow. I remember an problem a colleague of mine had with one of her authors. The author, Eric Menendez (of the murdering Menendez brothers) wrote a book and got onto National TV because of his notoriety. What he didn't have, however, was distribution. The book was only available on his web site. He went on TV and was very popular. Readers flocked to his web site to buy the book in large numbers which crashed the web site. Naturally, that was a blown opportunity for this author, self-inflicted because adequate distribution wasn't available.

Your publisher probably has some form of distribution in place for your first, and soon to be second, novel. The distribution is probably sufficient.

Getting publicity becomes relatively easy. The media is starving for content. Every day, radio stations, tv stations, blogs, newspapers and magazines are searching for authors to interview on subjects that would interest their constituents. Start local. Do this for several reasons. First, it's easier to book on a local station or newspaper. Second, it gives you practice so you can build your portfolio of interviews. Third, local stations will probably give you a CD or DVD of your performance. Always take one if it's offered and ask for one if it's not. Fourth, regional and national media don't want to feature an author without experience. Build your experience locally, first. When you have several good interviews on local media, you can approach regional or national media.

Remember bloggers. You can offer bloggers exclusive interviews without damaging your other print media opportunities.

In all cases, finding publicity is the author's job. Some authors hire publicists to help. For most authors, finding publicity is not something that comes naturally.

Finally, regarding the review copies appearing for sale in various places, I'd caution not to spend too much time worrying about this practice. Sure, it happens. So what? It may mean a few lost sales, but it also means your book is getting into the hands of readers who, if they like the book, are customers for future books you write.
Bill,

Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed explanation, I'm sure many readers here will be able to benefit from your insights.

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