RSS

Tag Archives: authors

5 Key Lessons for Authors and Self-Publishers from Neil Gaiman

5 Key Lessons for Authors and Self-Publishers from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman (source: Wikipedia)

Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s most beloved authors, gave the keynote speech at last week’sDigital Minds Conference and although his audience was primarily made up of book industry executives, his talk was just as relevant to authors and self-publishers. If you haven’t seen it already, the full presentation is now online and well worth watching.

For me, there were five key lessons to draw from Gaiman’s talk and I have taken the liberty of both paraphrasing him and, in some cases, expanding upon his ideas.

1. Be nice

Gaiman recalled a time when he was sharing a signing with a big-ticket crime author, back before he found himself on the bestseller lists. Incredibly Famous Author, who remains anonymous for the duration of the anecdote, made a scene when presented with an ex-library book on the basis that he ‘got nothing for it’. In response several people in Famous Author’s queue defected, buying copies of Gaiman’s book and waiting in line for him to sign it.

All authors, and especially self-published authors, should bear this in mind at all times. It only takes one example of obnoxiousness for someone to change their mind about buying your book and, on the internet, such examples can travel widely. Instead, give people something to love, give them something to remember and to treasure. Give them an opportunity to take a chance on you; don’t give them a reason to change their minds.

2. Readers discover authors they love, they don’t buy them

People find their favourite authors through word of mouth, not by going into a bookshop and buying a book. They are introduced to their favourite authors by being given or loaned the book by a friend, or by borrowing it from a library. Said Gaiman:

“We don’t normally find the people we love most by buying them. We encounter them, we discover that we love them, which is why I decided early on I was never going to go to war [on piracy], I was just going to encourage, I was going to go for word of mouth.”

3. What is valuable is what is unique

The publishing is in the business of producing lots of things that are identical, ie copies of books. But people buy things because they are unique, because they remind us of an experience, because they have some emotional impact on us. We need to appeal to people by producing beautiful objects. We need to festishise books and give people a reason to buy them.

4. Make yourself heard

We live in a world of abundance now. The days of scarcity, where it was hard to find things, are over. The question is how do we make ourselves heard? How do we find the signal in the noise? And how do we make ourselves heard? A world in which there’s too much information means we no longer rely on gatekeepers but on guides and on word of mouth. That means you have to get out there, you have to be a part of your community, and you have to be the signal, not the noise.

5. Be lucky, be a dandelion, try stuff

For me, this was the most important part of Gaiman’s talk and it starts about 15 minutes in. Mammals, he reminds us, have a small number of offspring and nurture them, pouring all their energy and resources into helping them grow up. Dandelions, on the other hand, produce many, many seeds, the majority of which will never germinate, but — and it’s an important but — some will.

We should, he says, throw our seeds to the wind and see what works. Not everything will pan out the way we hoped, and he gives some good examples of failure, but enough will succeed. It’s important to remember, however, that just because something works well once for someone else does not mean that the same thing will work for you. Sometimes it won’t even work again when the same person does it. Gaiman’s model, he tells us, is this:

“Try everything, make mistakes, surprise ourselves, try anything else, fail, fail better, succeed in ways we would never have imagined a year ago or a week ago.”

Too many authors and self-publishers are looking for the One True Path To Success, but that path doesn’t exist. Tactics that seem to work for one author fail for many others (although we’ll never know how many as no one counts the failures). And strategies that worked once upon a time no longer do. So we have to be inventive, try things out, not get disheartened when we fail, and just keep on being creative, no matter what.

There are more opportunities out there now than we can count, more chances to throw our dandelion seeds to the winds than ever before. There has never been a more exciting time to be a writer than now.

Visit original post here.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

Tags: , , , ,

Can The London Book Fair Balance The Needs of Authors And Publishers?

The London Book Fair's Author Lounge

The London Book Fair’s Author Lounge

Historically, the London Book Fair at Earls Court hasn’t been aimed at authors, but with over 1,800 exhibitors listed in its directory and 250 seminars and events, it’s now an opportunity too big to miss. There’s a huge amount going on over the three days and a lot of people to meet, so it’s easy to fill your diary with presentations and conversations. But there’s an unresolved tension at the heart of the fair.

The London Book Fair has always primarily been a commercial event, “the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels”, as its website says. All the major publishers have large stands on the main floor, crammed with tables or desks occupied by people deep in conversation. Literary agents are hidden up in the International Rights Centre at gallery level, where they negotiate and close deals in relative private.

Despite the show’s main aim of serving the publishing industry, the schedule now includes events for authors and self-publishers. There’s also a dedicated Author Lounge hosting regular talks, with additional seminars held in the various conference rooms.

I was told by those who’d attended last year that the Author Lounge had then been tucked away upstairs and much too small, so this year’s move to the main floor was clearly a step up. But it was still too small with space for only about 60 people seated, and perhaps 80 or 90 when crammed in, standing, at the back. Almost every time I walked past, people were overflowing into the aisle and I can only imagine that there will be even greater demand from authors next year.

But several people I spoke to felt that the addition of unpublished or self-published authors to the mix created an awkward undercurrent. One literary agent I spoke to told me that she was there essentially incognito as she didn’t want to be pitched at all the time. And an editor at a major publisher explained how awkward it could be deal with authors wanting to pitch, not least because most publishers’ time has been fully booked with pre-arranged meetings.

The London Book Fair isn’t, in its current form, a brilliant place for authors looking for literary agents or publishers for their book. Some people do manage it, but anyone who turns up without having made contact beforehand is likely to be disappointed. Even though I was there not as an author but as a consultant and journalist, the only people I had substantive meetings with were those whom I’d already arranged to see or knew personally. And that’s the pattern of the fair: If you don’t have an appointment you can leave your business card and hope that someone calls you, but it’s unlikely to happen given how solidly booked everyone is.

I think that next year, the London Book Fair would do well to carefully consider how they expect authors and industry to interact. Some of the authors I spoke to felt under served by the existing set-up because although they could easily meet their peers or go to seminars, there was little opportunity for them to talk to people from the industry.

The elephant in the exhibition hall is, of course, the desire of some authors — though definitely not all — to sell their books and their inability to do anything much about it. Although there was a pitching session, it was an opportunity limited in scope.

One option for next year might be to have a pre-submission process where authors who have bought tickets can electronically submit their manuscript in advance to a limited number of publishers or agents, who can then request a meeting if they want to. Or maybe an author-agent/publisher speed dating event where the author gets five minutes to make an impression.

Another idea came from the literary agent I chatted to, who suggested that perhaps it might be interesting to create a fringe event for authors to provide a better environment in which to talk to agents, editors and publishers. I don’t think that it would be smart to separate authors off completely from the main fair — I found it very helpful to just wander round, look  at the different stalls and get a feel for the publishing landscape. But I think there does need to be more space devoted to authors and more opportunity for conversations not just with each other but with people from the industry.

As the industry continues its transition to digital, and as self-publishing becomes an increasingly powerful force, it makes sense to find ways to facilitate conversations that will meet the needs of both authors and agents/publishers, without swamping either with unrealistic demands. An unmediated casting call for new talent would drown agents and publishers in slush, of which they have enough already. But leaving authors to simply chat amongst themselves does them a disservice, as many of those who make the effort to attend are exactly the sort of highly-motivated, entrepreneurial authors that the industry needs.

Visit original post here.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

Tags: , , ,

Phase 2 of a successful book marketing campaign: Once you submit your manuscript.

The Indie Book Writers Blog | Self Publishing | Get Published

In an earlier post, I introduced the idea that there are three phases of a successful marketing campaign. The first phase is Before You Submit Your Manuscript. Phase 2 is Once You Submit Your Manuscript. This is when you truly begin to prepare the groundwork for the launch of your book.

marketing-381x300Here are the key things to focus on during this critical phase.

DEVELOP YOUR BOOK’S MEDIA “HOOK.”
Sometimes called the “elevator pitch,” this is the two-minute speech you would give to get media outlets
interested in featuring your book. Above all, make sure your pitch is brief, clear and unique. Don’t just talk about your book, but make sure you talk about the topic of your book in your pitch.

PLAN YOUR BOOK LAUNCH EVENT
One of the key elements of your marketing plan should be a book launch party. This is a way to generate

View original post 340 more words

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The 3 phases of a successful book marketing campaign

The Indie Book Writers Blog | Self Publishing | Get Published

Marketing your book can be as fun and creative as the actual process of writing a book — if you have the right
plan. In fact, developing a marketing plan is one of the most important tasks you need to complete in order to promote
your book successfully.

As with any good book, a good marketing plan has an effective beginning, an engaging middle and a powerful end. Think about it in three phases:

PHASE ONE: Before You Submit Your Manuscript

PHASE TWO: Once You Submit Your Manuscript

PHASE THREE: After Your Book Is Available for Sale

Marketing planOver the course of the next three posts I am going to address some key things to think about during each of these phases to help you create the most successful marketing plan you can.

PHASE ONE: Before You Submit Your Manuscript

The time to start thinking about your marketing plan is before…

View original post 609 more words

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 tips to getting published in 2013 by Keith Ogorek

The Indie Book Writers Blog | Self Publishing | Get Published

2013 imageThere has never been a better time to be an author so if you have a manuscript you have been working on, 2013 is the year you can get published.  Here are five simple tips to help you make sure you get to your goal.

  1. Pick a date when you want to hold a copy of your book. Writing is a process, but publishing is a goal so you need a deadline. And I have found the authors who are successful in self publishing, set a date when they want to hold a copy of their book. Sounds simple, but it is really important.
  2. Decide when is the best time for you to write and make that your routine.  I have talked to hundreds of authors and the ones who get to the goal have a discipline about their writing. Most have a better time in the day when they…

View original post 262 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Xlibris presents the Benefits of Self-Publishing

For years, Xlibris has been making tens of thousands of people’s dreams of becoming published authors come true, and we definitely have some experience to share. So what are some of the advantages of self-publishing, as opposed to the “traditional” publishing route?

Today we’ll highlight some of the more significant differences you’ll encounter if you elect self-publishing, and you can decided if it’s right for you.

Let’s say this up front, though: publishing, self or otherwise, has never been an easy business. Regardless of how you publish, you’re going to have to be a great self-promoter. That means book signings, social media, readings, and good old-fashioned word of mouth. But if you had the perseverance to complete that first book, you can handle it!

So what are some benefits of self-publishing?

Speed:

Even if you find an agent, and even if that agent finds a publisher (two rather big “if’s”), it can take years for your book to actually hit the shelves. The self-publishing cycle is much shorter; your book can go from your computer to the shelves in months (or even weeks, if you elect to publish as an e-book.)

Longevity:

Traditional publishing is a “survival of the fittest” kind of world. If your book isn’t selling, it’s going to be taken off the shelves, before it even has a chance to build a fan base. When you self-publish, your book stays available as long as you want it to be available.

Creative Control:

When you self-publish, you have much more control over the final appearance of your book, to include the cover design, size, binding, etc. Does this place the weight of more decisions on your shoulders? Sure–but the final product will be more in line with what you envisioned.

No More “Gatekeepers”:

Remember what we said about publishing being a tough business? Well, you know what’s harder than promoting a published book? Promoting an unpublished book. Traditional publishing isn’t about making sure the most deserving books make it to the bookstores, it’s about what the publishers feel they can successfully market. “Why,” their thinking goes, “should we sell 5,000 copies of a thousand authors’ books when we can sell five million copies of ONE author’s book?” Good-bye, midlist.

Even if your potential audience is just a few thousand people, a few hundred, the residents of your town, or your own family members, self-publishing allows your book to become a reality.

You’ve worked hard, spent hundreds of hours and weekends, and probably sequestered yourself from friends and family to get that manuscript completed. Why let it lie around in your closest, or take up space on your hard drive? Self-publishing, with Xlibris or on your own, can help you take it across the finish line to your ultimate goal: putting your book into the hands of your readers.

Check out the Xlibris Bookstore to see how other self-publishing writers are making their dreams come true! We hope to see you back again soon at the Xlibris Writer’s Workshop!

Source: Xlibris Writer’s Workshop

 
 

Tags: , , , ,