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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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Melinda,

Thanks for the specifics! And your book looks very good and timely, with so many out of corporate jobs wanting to start their own businesses.

In case readers want to know, here's her site and her book: http://succeedasyourownboss.com/

J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books."
http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html
Theresa,

What kind of publicity are you doing? I find that some things I do for publicity work and others seem to produce nothing at all. Still others take time.

I have seen a major decrease of sales for my own books in March. Momentum was building November through January, February was weaker and March has been rather dismal. I don't know if that's a tendency of the book market for those months or the economy is hurting everyone or if some important link to my book from a key source just dropped off the Web.

Feel free to leave the names of some of your books and a link in your signature. I'd like to know what you're writing.

J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books."
http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html
Steve, from what I gather from the authors on my Paradise Readers Ning page, the book situation is pretty much the same for everyone. Things have slowed down. It isn't a problem for me as I tend to look for ways to work with every situation and we both know that the winners in life are not the whiners. I think about my mom and dad and how they made it through the old depression, they made it work for them and that is what we have to do now. For every bump in the road, there is an opportunity. I have a fourth edition of my old book coming out in about four or five week (In Search Of Paradise) and I am sure that over the next thirty years it will sell equal to or better than it did in the first, second and third edition. If you remember the old v-tail Bonanza Aircraft, it seemed to zig zag as if flew along, but in the end and looked at overall, it managed a very straight course. We will see this thing through and be better for it. Hey, if life was easy, They wouldn't have sent me here. Dr Robert E McGinnis
Brainstorm on Robert's Comment,

I just read a quote from Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going." Good advice for authors trying to survive a bad economy. I thought about this in relation to Robert's comment: "I tend to look for ways to work with every situation...for every bump in the road, there is an opportunity."

Could we brainstorm a bit on the OPPORTUNITIES that the present economic crisis presents to authors? I'll throw out a few to help get us started. (And who knows, I might take advantage of this post and publish it somewhere!)

1. Speak on "How to Get Published." We're published, so we know something about publishing. With people losing corporate jobs and not finding other jobs in the corporate world, they're scrambling to find work at home. For many, that involves establishing themselves as an expert in their field, which means they should publish a book. So lots of people want to know how to succeed (and not get screwed over) in the current "Wild Wild West" of publishing. People will pay for that valuable information. (Frishman and others held a publishing/marketing conference in LA last week. It sold out. In a terrible economy, in one of the worst hit areas.)

2. Speak in schools and classrooms. So their budgets are cut and they can't afford to pay expensive speakers to come in. So maybe they're more willing to take in local small fry like us who speak for nothing but exposure. We speak about "The Opportunities for Publishing in a Digital Age." We speak about "Writing for Publication." We tell them about our books. We sell some of our books (people still have to purchase cheap gifts, you know.) Some states have grants for getting authors into schools (Georgia does). If you can get on the list, schools can choose authors from the list.

3. Books make inexpensive gifts with high perceived value. Much better value than a box of chocolates (although "life IS a bit like a box of chocolates"). Graduation's almost upon us and people can't afford to dole out the $50 gifts they used to give. We offer a great alternative.

4. Help others with our books. Many schools have a freeze on new textbooks. (That's been a problem for selling mine as a text.) So the good news is, a school that wants to start a new class on personal finances can't buy a text. If I could give away 20 copies for a class, they could use it, all write rave reviews about how it changed their lives, and set me up to be able to sell copies to other schools when the economy picks back up. Find ways to serve while the economy sucks and we're likely to find a lot of good will when it soars.

5. Write informative forum and blog posts on how authors can thrive in a poor economy and post them with a link to your books in your signature. (Hint, Hint)

Other ideas?

J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books."
http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html
Good morning Steve,
http://paradisereaders.ning.com/
You are welcome join and post your information on my page as is anyone here. We have authors, readers, students and teachers. There are college professors here as well, and one with a workbook on math.

We buy books from each other and as small as it might seem, it boosts the sales record, we offer each other reviews, advice and comfort. I am on many such pages and in doing so, I have an opportunity to select what I want to read and to add to my overflowing home library. I belong to a variety of social networking pages where most of the people are authors and where they also spend a lot of time tagging each other, writing reviews and forgetting the purpose they have chosen in life which is writing. At least it is mine. I don't stop writing, I am far less concerned with selling my books because time will take care of that, but I won't be here by then. A legacy is not created overnight, but one word at a time and usually, over a long period. You mentioned Winston Churchill who left one of the greatest legacies of all time, and you mentioned one of his quotes. If he had spent all of his time promoting himself and less time in fighting a war and running a government, you most likely would never have seen that quote.

Back to your good advice: As far as speaking in school, you have a good point there. I ran the speakers program for my school for thirty years and utilized people from almost every walk of life. There were days when I had fifty or more speakers scheduled to be in my school all day long who talked about their various specialties and we called it a Career Day. That was way back when an author was hard to get and a prize speaker when you could get them into the school. Not so anymore, we are all authors, and as it should be. But, we are not as unique as authors were twenty years ago thanks to the huge change in that sector of literature. I agree with you, as times change, so must we.

During my teaching days, I ran two other businesses and I was called continually to speak in college classes, other high school classes, the police academy, recreation centers and motivation clinics only to mention a few. I was on call to speak to many organizations, companies, schools, libraries, clinics, social events, only to mention a few and you do that by establishing a reputation in your field and joining a speakers bureau. This works well for most people.

I invite you to join my page, one of the professors mentioned above is a professor of finance who also happens to be my son. He teaches business and might want to see one of your books. I know he has helped me by placing my books in his office and in the school library. In addition, I have sold books to college student and parents, on open house nights, but it is hard for the students to come up with the money and when they are with their parents, you have a much better shot in sales. As you said, and I agree with all that you say, books make great presents and not only at a reasonable cost, but will memorialize almost any occasion. I have books given to me by my relatives dating back to the early forties and I cherish these books even today.

As with talking, I write too much.
Dr Robert E McGinnis
I have a book coming out in three weeks, eight weeks, and every two months thereafter for the rest of the year.

I don't use Kindle because it doesn't involve my reason for writing, but having said that, I do sell books. I have some books printed by a private publishing company at a very reasonable cost. I have never paid for promotions as I understand what they are looking for.lllllll,,,,,my money. However, I do carry a bookstore of privately printed books of my own and it is not unusual for me to walk into Home Depot or Lowes and have someone run up to me an ask for a set of books. What a better way to give someone a Christmas, birthday or graduation present. I often eat out as a restaurant in town, they have posted a large picture of my book, Secrets Of Paradise, I confess, I did pay for the printing and framing of that picture, but I had it done for a show at our local college. When the restaurant asked for it, I gave it to them. I also had a finance company in Florida ask for a picture of one of my book covers for the president of the company's office. This resulted in an order for sixty book. I can't complain. I have not made selling my goal, I put my effort into writing which is my passion, but should anyone want to read my books, I will gladly let them.

Dr Robert E McGinnis
There are many authors in these new and expanded methods for publishers to make money. No longer do publishers look for good books to promote, these companies look for anyone with money who is willing to pay for printing and promotional services. It is really not all that bad of an idea, because I encourage anyone and everyone to write. It is our way of passing on some of ourselves to those who will follow. I do not write what is sensational or attractive to someone looking for an education in sexual exploitation or other unsavory material. I really and truly want to entertain and that is my goal and it seems to be working for me.
Dr M
Theresa--

Try to stay encouraged. Trouble does not last always. I remember when I wasn't sure if my book would be published. It was delayed twice due to the economy. Things will pick up. If you build a better mouse trap the world will beat a path to your door.

Think about what else you know that you could sell. Its not about the book, it's about the book bundle. Can you create any coaching, consulting, or mastermind programs?--Those all are viable.

Do you have a mailing list of fans you can sell more things too?

My book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 months is "how to start book" for the first 10 chapters. The last 12 chapters are about how to run or re-invent a business, which enables me to market it two ways.

Good Luck,
Melinda @smallbizlady
http://www.becomeyourownbossbook.com
I don't really think it is a bad thing that people that can contribute along the way get paid for their service. If a system of marketing and distribution can be established with good honest people getting the flow of books up to where they all can make some money that is a good thing, not negative. You are participating in the food chain of capitalism. It is about money, no doubt, but it is also about your book. If it didn't have a compelling story, even the money grabbers will walk away. In some measure it is a meter of the relevance of your book. If the whole food chain gets excited, your book is good and it makes money to boot. Try life on the street without money...
Theresa,

A few thoughts on reasons for your lack of sales.

#1 - When you do your social networking, etc., are you linking people solely to the Antellus site? I'd be afraid to order from there, but I'm used to ordering from Amazon, get free shipping, etc. So I'd want a link to Amazon, so that I could order from there.

#2 - When I go to Amazon, I don't see any reviews (of your publishing/marketing book). I'd make that a MAJOR priority. Now that you're offering them on free pdf, you're giving people a valuable gift. In a real sense, they owe you something. So why not say, "I'm giving away to you something that took me a lot of time to research and write. If you find it valuable, would you be willing to give me a review on Amazon? Although reviewers might lie, deceive, or be in cahoots with the author, they're the only outside source I have to tell me what the book is about and if it's valuable. Without any outside verification that the book is good, unless the person is a recognized authority in the field, I wouldn't buy the book.

#3 - In your Amazon product description, I'd give some bullet points of what separates your book out from others. Is it an introduction that is easier to get through than the larger tomes? Being newer, does it give the latest information that others lack? You can also include one or two (I forget how many they allow) blurbs. Blurbs assure me that experts in the field think this is valuable.

#4 - You don't have any "tags" chosen on your Amazon page. Think of what terms people might use in searching for your book ("Book marketing", "book publishing," etc.) and put these up. Then, go to Google's "Keyword Tool" to find more: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal . This way, people who are searching for a book on "book publishing" might find you. After you've used all your allotted words, go to a friend's house, a neighbor's house, etc. and use their computer (anyone with an Amazon account) to put up more key terms.

I wonder if you've perhaps been doing a great job with social networking, etc., to bring people to your landing page to buy the book, but need to simply concentrate a bit on your landing pages to make sure they persuade the people to buy when they get there.

All of which brings up a good point: it's good to be open, like Theresa, asking for advice from each other. There may be things sabotaging my sales that I haven't noticed. It helps when outside people occasionally take a look.

Just suggestions. Here's how my Amazon page looks. Seeing it now, I see a couple of things I need to tidy up as well!

http://www.amazon.com/Enjoy-Your-Money-Make-Invest/dp/098187567X/re...
I think the essential next phase of any book sales trending upward has to follow the economic stability and rebuilding of people's lives to afford discretionary spending again. It is actually foolish to buy books for entertainment now. Text book sales are even off, because student loading for junior colleges is down. The demand is there, but the cost of classes is causing delayed participation. Now is time to find a job and save for the time some plateau of confidence can be established.

But since so many people already have portable devices, ebooks are seeing are real boost. They are much cheaper and you get the same information. It’s like books are Betamax and ebooks are VHS. Books may be better in many ways, but ebooks get the job done for a lot less money.
Well actually, ebooks took off like crazy during the Christmas season last year and numberswise outsold paperbacks. Why people want to read a book on a iPhone is beyond me, but they are. I sold steadily all last year with a peak in January. That was with Amazon on the Kindle. The only paper books I sold were hard sells, nearly begging at book fairs.

This year I'm concentrating on ebook sales by uploading to as many e-distributors that I can find. It's not a simple process and a bit frustrating, but I should have them all on Smashwords in a month. Then my publisher is trying as fast as they can to get into the game.

The beauty of ebooks, of course, is the sales are 24/7, worldwide without you having to do anything after the uploads.

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