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Indie Book of the Week

 

Good morning, friends and a hearty TGIF to you all! I hope you all have some awesome weekend plans lying ahead of you, even if it’s absolutely nothing. Sometimes I find those are the most enjoyable.

 

So….if you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I always post the, “Indie Author of the Week” or “Indie Book of the Week” on Fridays. Well, today I’m posting a book that I think you, as an indie author might enjoy.

 

We’ve all heard of indie authors and if you are like me, you consider yourself one (doesn’t matter whether you are published at this point or not). I’m also fairly certain that you are curious as to what helps to make indie authors successful, no matter your definition of success. Here’s something that you should buy:

 

Learn how to succeed in indie publishing.

 

With interviews from 34 of the hottest names in self-publishing, “Interviews with Indie Authors” contains a unique view into the world of the indie writer. Each bestselling self-published author shares how they ensure their books are a hit, and what led them to indie publishing in the first place. You will also find out what they think the future of self-publishing will bring. Their first hand experience is invaluable for anyone planning to succeed with their own books.

 

Whatever your background, you will learn from these incredible interviews.

 

With diverse genres such as thrillers, young adult fiction, the paranormal, romance, comedy, fantasy, horror, science fiction, mystery and even non-fiction, whatever you are writing about, this book has it covered.

 

Contains interviews with indie authors such as: Michael McCloskey, Nick Russell, Connie Suttle, Michael Prescott, Terri Reid, Hugh Howey, Scott Nicholson, Kristen Ashley, Aaron Patterson, Carol Davis Luce, Claire Ridgway, Alexa Grace, Marie Force, Shadonna Richards, Colleen Hoover, Barbara Freethy, Joseph Lallo, Rebecca Forster, Caryn Moya Block, Denise Grover Swank, Mainak Dhar, Imogen Rose, CJ Lyons, Bella Andre, Maria Murnane, Theresa Ragan, Russell Blake, Linda Welch, Debra Holland, J. Thorn, James Somers, Karen Cantwell, Tracey Garvis Graves and Elena Greene.

 

Buy it on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/Interviews-Indie-Authors-Self-Published-ebook/dp/B008OTUDWO.

 

Have a great weekend! (Evin – www.saplingpublishing.com)

 

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Indie Book of the Week – Free Kindle Download Today

It is that time again, folks…time for the “Indie Book of the Week.”

Click http://www.indieauthornews.com/2013/04/new-indie-book-release-deliverance-jennie-marsland.html to download your copy today.

As advertised on, “Indie Author News:”

New Indie Book Release: Deliverance (Jennie Marsland)

New Indie Book Release:
Deliverance – Jennie Marsland –
Historical Romance (April 2013 – 273 pages)

Deliverance is a historical romance set in Canada in 1917. It’s a sequel to the Author’s 2011 release, Shattered. The hero is a returned WW1 veteran who has gone AWOL to avoid being sent back overseas, and the heroine is a returned Red Cross nurse.

About the Book
Autumn 1917

Carl O’Neill is on the run from the Army and himself. Returned from Europe on recuperative leave, he’d rather die than go back to the trenches. He assumes a dead man’s name and leaves his home and family behind him, only to be dumped off the train in the small prairie town of Mackenzie, Saskatchewan. Seriously ill and stranded, Carl has no choice but to confront the demons that drive him – and his growing feelings for the former Red Cross nurse who saves his life.

Naomi Franklin is no stranger to secrets and personal demons. Struggling with the trauma of rape and her experiences in a front-line field hospital, Naomi can’t bear to close the eyes of another young man whose life has ended far too soon. She’ll nurse the stranger who lands on her father’s doorstep and then send him on his way. But looking into Carl’s blue eyes makes her feel like a woman again, while the all-too-familiar shadows behind them touch her heart. When both their lives come crashing down around them, can Carl and Naomi overcome secrets and lies to find each other again?

About the Author
Jennie Marsland is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for most of her life, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoys writing songs and poetry as well as fiction.

Jennie is a history buff as well as an unashamed romantic. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination, and she believes in happily ever after.

A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia for the last thirty years, she lives with her husband Everett and their outrageously spoiled Duck-Tolling Retrievers, Chance and Echo.
 

TGIF! (Evin – www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Genre

I picked up a science fiction book in a used book store on Tuesday (one that I ended up buying). I normally don’t read much sci-fi however looking through it really made me think. I was thinking about how difficult it would be for me personally to write sci-fi. I’m more of a mystery, suspense, paranormal type of writer. My mind just doesn’t tend to come up with any good sci-fi material.

I’ve watched enough movies and television series that I’m surprised I can’t write within that genre. It really makes me wonder what makes us as writers, able to create stories within specific genres. Would I be able to write a sci-fi novel even if I tried?

I found an article written by Cliff Daigle on About.com (http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/genrefiction/a/How-To-Choose-A-Genre-For-Your-Novels.htm) and this was his perspective on choosing a genre:

“The choice of genre is a pretty straightforward process for some writers. They love writing one kind of thing, and that’s what they focus on. For the rest of us, this can be a difficult decision to make.

Why Choose?

The easiest choice to make is not to choose at all. By choosing to stay open to writing in any genre you are free to pursue any idea that grabs you. You could write a gothic horror novel, followed by a techo-thriller.

So why choose if by choosing you limit your options? It all comes down to marketability. When a publisher buys your novel what they are really buying is you, the author. They want to know that they can build a platform, a brand, around you and your writing. They need to believe that there will be more books, similar to the first, on the way. That means sticking to one genre.

Imagine pitching a fantasy novel to a publisher. They ask if you have other novels either finished or in-progress. You tell them that you also have a romance, a western, and a collection of hard-boiled crime stories. Does this help you sell your fantasy novel? Not at all.

If all your other books, stories and works-in-progress were in the fantasy genre, then you’d be that much closer to a sale. It might sound shallow, but it does make sense.

Other Benefits Genre Choice

Sticking to one genre has a few other advantages as well:

  • Constraints breed creativity. Sometimes having some rules to write by actually makes you more creative. When you can write about anything it can be difficult to know where to start.
  • You look more professional. It’s important for publishers to see that you understand the need to build a platform and that you’ve started on your own. The more confidence they have in your willingness to market yourself, the better.
  • You become known as an expert. The more you write in one genre the more people see you as an authority in that area.
  • It’s one less choice to make. As a writer building a career your life is filled with endless choices. Now you have one less!

How to Choose

The most obvious way to pick a genre is to write what you like to read. If you mostly read romance, then write romance. Most of us read in several genres, and that can make it tricky though. Do you choose the one that seems the most marketable? The one you think is the most fun? Flip a coin?

This is ultimately a personal choice, but there are a few techniques that can help you choose:

  • Make a pros and cons list. The classic decision-making tool. Write down the good and bad reasons to write in each genre and see how it shakes out.
  • Go with your gut. After thinking about your options for a while, sit quietly for a while and listen to your intuition. Forget about marketing, or what your friends will think, what does your heart tell you to write?
  • Pick the most marketable genre. This is tricky since it’s almost impossible to guess where the market is going. That said, you may be choosing between writing in a super-niche, micro-market, and something more mainstream. If you truly feel that they are equally-weighted in every other way, then maybe go with the one you think you can sell.

As you examine potential genres pay attention to the ones that attract you, but scare you at the same time. If you’re excited to write in a certain area, but afraid that you won’t be able to do it, then seriously consider choosing that genre. Often what you fear doing is what you need most to grow as an artist.

When to Choose

Do you really need to choose right away? It probably won’t hurt.

If you are writing in several genres, you will have to pick one once a publisher agrees to publish one of your novels. And since your off-genre novels won’t do much to help you sign a deal, you might as well choose as soon as you can.

Can I Change My Mind?

Sure. Once you’re established you can start to work in a new genre if you like. Many successful authors write in multiple genres. They didn’t start out that way, though. They mastered one genre at a time, building a fan-base and a catalog before moving on to something new.

Of course if you’re prolific enough to be shopping multiple books in multiple genres you can always use a pseudonym to brand each genre separately. It’s certainly not an easy way to start out though!

The Bottom Line

As critical a decision as this is, it’s important not to let it paralyze you. The worst thing you can do is use your indecision about genre as an excuse not to write. If you really need to write something off-genre, then go ahead. Just make the choice as soon as you can, and keep the words flowing in the meantime.”

Decisions, decisions (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie Author of the Week

TGIF, my loyal readers. Hope you have some awesome weekend plans in the works. If you’re like me, you are planning on getting out and enjoying some sunshine. At least I think the sun is going to shine in Oregon this weekend. Regardless, it’s the weekend so who cares?

Notice how I alternate between Indie Author of the week and Indie Book of the week? Indie “book” simply means that they have at least one book that rocks. Indie “author” means that I personally feel the author has some serious potential to make it big.

So without further adieu, my Indie Author of the Week is Mason McCann Smith. This guy rocks. Trust me when I tell you to purchase one or all of his books because you’ll be glad you did. I had the pleasure of discussing books and writing over a cup of coffee with Mason last week. He’s not only an amazing author, but a very interesting, cool guy. I started reading, “The Stained Glass Virgin” last night and let me say that I’m enjoying it.

I do want to add that he’s had a book published by Random House, so he’s familiar with the process of traditional publishing.

You can buy his books and find out more about him here: www.madscavenger.com. He also offers services for writers, so add him to your list.

Have a great weekend! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie Author of the Week

It’s Friday! In addition to hearing me shout out a huge, “TGIF!” you get the gift of finding out who my Indie Author of the Week is. It is….*drum roll*….Michelle Proulx!

Taken straight from Amazon, “Michelle Proulx was born on the market moon of Vega Minor where she spent her formative years reading, writing, and gambling at illegal underground jsgarn fighting rings. While en route to Alpha Centauri, Michelle crash-landed her space yacht on the planet Earth. She now lives in Canada and divides her time between observing the local fauna and repairing her star ship.”

Visit her website — http://www.michelleproulx.com — to learn more!

Her début novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, is an award-winning Teen / Sci-fi / Romance novel. Check it out today, and get swept away in a galactic adventure of truly cosmic proportions!

Buy her book here: http://www.amazon.com/Imminent-Danger-How-Straight-into/dp/147596546X/ref=la_B00B5G0N9Q_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365171544&sr=1-1

Oh, and TGIF! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Retail stores and the self-published book

Many authors feel they have made it when they are able to walk into a brick and mortar store and find…their book on the shelf! Well heck yeah! This is one big achievement but I personally feel it has a lot more emphasis placed on it than it should. I’m going to go out in a limb and say that I personally feel I’ve made it when my material is being read and either useful to someone or entertaining someone (depending on the subject of course).

Okay, okay. Some of you may be rolling your eyes at me right now so I’m going to give you some info that should make you truly happy.

Yes, it is a hard task to get indie books and/or self-published books into brick and mortar chains however (and yes, there is a however here), times are changing. As you all know, the world is a digital place and becoming more so every day. You also know that many people are buying books online which is precisely why, many of your chains are now accepting *drum roll* self-published books into their online inventory.

Here’s an article on the very subject, right off of the Huffington Post, written by Smashwords Founder, Mark Coker (www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker/ebook-publishing_b_2663965.html):

If anyone doubts the speed at which the epicenter of book publishing is shifting from publishers to self-published authors, look no further than the Apple iBookstore.

Last week, Apple’s iBookstore launched Breakout Books in the U.S., a new book merchandising feature that showcases books from popular self-published authors, including several that have already achieved New York Times bestseller status. The New York Times covered the story last week, as did The Wall Street Journal.

Apple’s merchandising team hand-picked the titles, all of which have earned high ratings from Apple customers.

Disclosure: Many of the eBooks featured were distributed to Apple by my company, Smashwords.

Although the iBookstore has always carried and supported self-published eBooks, last week’s launch signified an escalated commitment on the part of Apple, whose iBookstore currently sells books in 50 countries. The iBookstore first piloted the Breakout Books feature in their Australian store in late November and has since implemented similar ongoing features in Canada and the U.K.

A retailer’s merchandising decisions are among the most important levers driving book discovery and sales. Whether you’re a traditionally published author or a self-published author, such placement can make your book stand out in a haystack of millions of other books competing for your reader’s attention.

Why are retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon giving self-published ebooks such merchandising love?

eBook Retailers and Readers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors

Over the last few years, I’ve written multiple posts here on The Huffington Post articulating the advantages of eBook self-publishing from the author perspective, such as the opportunity to bypass publishing gatekeepers; faster time to market; access to global distribution; higher royalties; and greater creative control. Many other industry watchers have covered the same.

Few in the publishing industry, however, have examined why retailers are stepping up their support for self-published books, and why readers are purchasing them. When we examine the myriad reasons, we see the playing field is likely to continue tilting to the advantage of self-published ebook authors.

Here, I’ll outline why retailers and readers are supporting self-published books, and what it means for authors:

  • Quality. The job of the retailer is to connect readers with books they’ll enjoy reading. The quality of self-published ebooks — measured by reader reviews — has increased significantly over the last few years as indie authors publish with greater professionalism, from editing to cover design to pricing and promotion. The most successful self-published ebooks often match or exceed the quality and desirability of traditionally published ebooks.
  • Low prices. The average Smashwords ebook is priced around $2.99. Readers love low cost books, especially if the quality is as good as or better than what’s released by traditional publishers. High quality books sold at low prices make customers happy, and what makes the customer happy makes the retailer happy. Low prices make self-published authors happy too, because a self-published author earns about $2.00 selling a $2.99 book. In order for a traditionally published author to earn $2.00 per ebook sold, the book would have to be priced over $11.00. Why the disparity? Most publishers pay authors 25 percent net for retail sales, which works out to 12.5-17.5 percent of the list price, whereas self-published authors earn 60-70 percent of the list price.
  • Diversity. Publishers are in the business of publishing books that they think will sell. In the end, the publisher can only guess what readers want to read. By rejecting most authors, publishers deny readers an incredible diversity of high-quality books that can satisfy both large mainstream markets as well as thousands of smaller micro-markets. Retailers know their customers appreciate the broadest possible diversity and selection of quality books. Indie authors deliver it.
  • Readers are the new curators. Readers — not publishers — have always been the ultimate arbiters of what’s worth reading, and reader word-of-mouth drives book sales. In the old world of publishing, publishers and retailers could only guess what readers wanted to read. Today, each time a reader downloads, purchases or reviews an ebook, this data becomes an expression of reader sentiment that ebook merchandisers can mine to identify books worthy of extra promotion. I predict the long-admired gatekeeping function played by publishers will eventually be viewed as detrimental to the future of the written word. Yes, publishers can add incredible value to books, but by making their publishing decisions through a myopic prism of perceived commercial potential, and by pricing their books too high, they’re denying readers great books, and thereby denying authors the readers they seek. These authors are learning they no longer need a publisher’s blessing to publish. Authors are bypassing publishers and publishing directly to readers with self-publishing platforms.
  • Unlimited shelf space. In the old print world of brick and mortar book retailing, retailers had a limited amount of shelf space, so they could only stock a small fraction of available books. In the new world of democratized ebook publishing and distribution, self-published writers have the freedom to publish what they want, and readers have the freedom to read what they want. Unlimited shelf space enables more books to be published, and some of these books will go on to find large audiences.
  • eBooks never go out of print. In the old world of publishing, if a book sold poorly at first, the retailers would pack up the books and return them to the publisher. These returns would essentially force a book out of print. With ebooks, the books are immortal. They never go out of print. They’re always available to be discovered and enjoyed by new audiences. This means retailers can sell them for as long as the author wishes them to be sold. It means every ebook represents a permanent annuity stream for the retailer, the author and the author’s heirs.
  • Sales!. Self-published books are selling. Self-published ebooks are hitting all the bestseller lists. Smashwords retailers are selling millions of dollars of our authors’ books each year, and that makes me happy because it gives our retail partners strong financial incentive to support our authors with new merchandising opportunities in the future.
  • FREE series starters. Many of the bestselling indie authors are writing full-length book series, and they’re pricing the first book in the series at FREE. FREE series starters give indie authors a significant discovery advantage over traditionally published authors who invariably see their book’s full potential squandered by high prices.
  • High unit volume. Follow the eyeballs. Since Christmas, iBookstore customers have downloaded an average of over one million FREE and priced Smashwords books each week. For indie authors, the high unit volume enabled by low cost, high-quality books means that the indie author can develop fans and author platforms faster than traditionally published authors. Apple — like Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon that also produce their own e-reading devices — gains two benefits from every download or sale: 1. They sell a lot of books and satisfy a lot of customers; 2. The millions of hours customers spend each month to browse, download, purchase and enjoy self-published books on iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Nooks make these devices that much more essential to the customer’s life.
  • Rapid publishing helps authors be more responsive to a retailer’s customers’ desires. Indie authors enjoy faster production schedules, which allow them to satisfy reader desires more quickly, or to cater to hot trends before the trends fade. Indie ebook authors can transform their fully edited manuscript into a professionally published ebook in a matter of minutes, and in a matter of hours or days achieve worldwide distribution at major retailers. Most traditionally-published writers must wait a year or more before their book reaches the market (imagine all the missed sales!).
  • Indies are always iterating and evolving. Unlike traditionally published print books which remain relatively static and unchanged after publication, indie authors are iterating their books. As I documented at the Smashwords blog, after R.L. Mathewson uploaded an improved cover image, the book broke out at Apple. A couple of weeks later, her book hit the New York Times bestseller list. Since indie ebooks are immortal and never go out of print, the author can always experiment with different covers, pricing or book descriptions. I document these and other discoverability levers in my free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. The book identifies the 28 best practices of the most commercially successful indie authors.

The revolution has begun. The self-publishing revolution and it’s big! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie book of the week

This week’s featured book is, “Grandpa Stories” by James McCann: www.smashwords.com/books/view/256072.

The author is someone I have been fortunate enough to personally work with and has provided us with a great story:

In his own words:

“Grandpa Stories is a collection of stories, my stories. I take today’s readers back to a time that seems so long ago now. The fact is that it really hasn’t been that long ago. It only seems so because of how much change has occurred since I started creating and collecting my stories. It’s not the ticking of clock that makes our stories interesting, it’s the changing of background or context that makes solutions like “pop-tops” and “jukeboxes” fascinating to us now. It was also a time where much of our learning didn’t have anything to do with school. We were taught by watching and experiencing life in ways that are no longer available to our children.

When it is all said and done, we are all the creators and collectors of our stories. As I look towards the end of my life, I rejoice in the honor of loving the people that I have loved, serving the country that made me free, creating the children and all the other wonderful forms of art that I have created.

I will celebrate living and loving it all right up to the moment that I no longer can. No matter what happens next, I am and have always been a very, very lucky man.”

 

Read it. You’ll enjoy it. Have a great weekend! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Self-Publishing Exposure

A contest. I love them! This one happens to be with Writer’s Digest. Details are below. I think you should enter. Seriously. Yes, I’m talking to YOU!

Gain Exposure For Your Self-Published Book!

You’ve put countless hours into writing your book and perfecting it for publication. You did your homework, and found the right self-publisher for you. Now, give your book the exposure and accolades it deserves – enter the Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards!

You could win:

  • Up to $3000 in cash
  • National exposure for your work
  • The attention of prospective editors and publishers
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!

Early Bird Deadline: April 1, 2013

 

Enter Now!

 

Enter your book into one or more of these categories:

  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children’s/Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
  • Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
  • Poetry

Read the rules and get the details: Writer’s Digest Self-Published Awards

What are you waiting for??? (Evin Wilkins – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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How to not starve as an indie author

Perhaps we’ve all heard the saying of, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I admittedly haven’t listened to much unsolicited advice from family over the years however, this is one that seems to have stuck with me. It really is true (no matter how it may seem at the moment). If you hadn’t yet heard it, now you can say you have. 😉

Many indie authors have other types of work to sustain them through their periods of writing. In fact, MOST authors do unless you are Anne Rice perhaps. I found a great article I’d like to share on doing what you love without starving. It’s not written specifically for indie authors but you get the message.

starving-artist07291208

By Marty Nemko –
If you are a star—very bright, talented, motivated, and personable and you have a passion, even if it’s in a competitive field, sure, go for it.

This article is for everyone else.

Based on the 2,700 clients I’ve worked with over the past two decades, the hundreds of callers to my career-centric radio show, and my countless other conversations with people about their careers, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve been sold a bill of goods when we’re told to “Follow your passion, “ or “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Fact is, if you do what you love, you’ll probably starve.

Yes, some people do what they love and the money follows. But millions of people have followed their passion and still haven’t earned enough to even pay back their student loans, let alone make even a bare middle-class living doing what they love.

The problem is that too many people crave the same few careers, for example, the arts, environmental, and non-profit work. Employers in these fields get dozens if not hundreds of applications for each job. So, you have to be a star or extremely well connected to get the job.

In other cases, salaries tend to be low or non-existent. Do what you love and volunteer work may well follow.

The irony is that the small percentage of people who do make a living in “do-what-you-love,” “follow-your-passion” careers, are, on average, no happier than people in less sexy jobs. Here’s why. Plenty of “cool careers” sound better than they turn out to be. Actors, for example, spend very little time acting. They spend most of their time trying out, sitting around waiting for their turn at rehearsals or on movie shoots, etc.

More important, not only do salaries in “cool” careers tend to be low, employers in those fields know they can get away with treating their employees shabbily because zillions of other capable people are panting for the opportunity to work 60 hours a week for $27,521 (with no benefits) rarely getting praise in exchange for the good feeling of knowing they’re playing an infinitesimal role in saving the spotted owl or whatever, even though they may never get closer to an owl than to a pile of accounts receivable statements.

Other people’s passion is status. So, for example, they endure years of boring law school and accumulate boatloads of student debt for the privilege of slaving under a 2,000-billable-hour quota for the law firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, with a futon in their office so they can sneak in a few zzzs in the middle of the all-nighters they pull to boost the chances of another lawyer’s corporate client giving money to their corporate client.

Other status seekers prostitute themselves to climb the corporate ladder. They work 60+-hour workweeks and kiss up to their bosses, smilingly willing to uproot themselves and their families for a few years in whatever God-forsaken place the Company wants to dump them. They endure two years of impractical arcana and take on a house-full of debt in graduate school so they can put those three letters, M,B,A, on their resume. And for what? So they may finally get a title of director or vice president, and after their 12-hour cover-their-butt workday, be one of the many execs who collapse on their sofa, get blitzed, and stare at their oversized living room in their oversized neighborhood wondering, “Is that all there is?”

In contrast, if your job is mundane, for example, marketing manager for the Western Widget Company, the employer knows there aren’t hundreds of competent people champing at the bit for your job. So, to keep you, the employer is more likely to offer decent working conditions, reasonable work hours, kind treatment, opportunities for learning, and pay you well. Those are the things that—much more than being in a “cool” career– lead to career contentment.

You say you want status? Unless you’re a true star (brilliant, driven, great personality, or have great connections), give it up. Status is often the enemy of success. You’re more likely to find career contentment in a not-high-status career. In my mind, someone who’s an honorable assistant manager for the Western Widget Co. is more worthy of respect than many lawyers, investment bankers, and business development VPs I know. If someone thinks less of you because you’re job isn’t high-status, they don’t deserve to be your friend.

Advice I’d Give My Child

If you’re entrepreneurial, I recommend starting your own business. Yes, I know, only 20 percent of new businesses are still in business after five years, but you can beat the odds. Just remember is this one rule: Don’t innovate. Replicate. Copy a successful simple business.

Innovations are too risky: Your product might not work, may not be popular with the public, or a competitor could beat you to market. Why be a guinea pig? Unless you have deep pockets or are truly brilliant, the risks are too great. Many people have ended up in poverty because of their innovations. Even Tivo, a wonderful new product lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the first few years. Last I checked, you don’t have oodles of money to lose. Leave the innovations to corporations or the independently wealthy.

Where to find a business to copy? Drive around to find a simple business at which customers are lined up out the door. For example, see a successful burrito shop or espresso cart? Open a similar one in a similar neighborhood. Your chances of success will be a helluva lot higher than 20%. You will find happiness in providing an in-demand product at a fair price. Confine your urge to innovate to your hobbies.

Another approach to finding a good business is to pick a grungy one, for example, automatic transmission repair or mobile home park maintenance. Few top-notch people go into such businesses, so if you do it competently, you’ll probably make good maybe great money. And you’ll feel better about your work, having people coming to you and thanking you, and owning your own business rather than slaving away for some boss ever fearing your job will be downsized or shipped to India.

You say you don’t have the knowledge to run such a business? No problem. For example, I don’t know a thing about transmissions, but if I wanted to open a transmission shop, I’d find the best transmission mechanic, pay him well and hire a consultant who is the owner of a successful transmission shop located far enough from my store that he wouldn’t fear my competition. The two of them would teach me how to set up my business. Then, I’d spend my time building relationships with car repair shop owners so I’d get their referral business.

If starting a business from scratch seems too scary, consider a franchise. According to Robert Bond, author of Bond’s Franchise Guide, some of the best include Jani-King commercial cleaning and Aussie Pet Mobile, a grooming service. When you find a franchise that sounds appealing, be sure to speak with at least 10 of the franchise’s franchisees at random before signing on the dotted line.

If you’re not entrepreneurial and want to be well employed, go far from the madding crowd. Here are some areas where the job market is not hypercompetitive: Court reporting, car finance & insurance, accounting, insurance, sales of little known commercial products, health care administration, fundraising, financial services, anything serving Latinos (entertainment, schools, hospitals, criminal justice system), anti-terrorism, and biotech regulatory affairs.

Remember that, in the end, the key to career contentment is a job that:

— isn’t too hard or too easy

— has a boss who’s kind and helpful

— involves an ethical product or service

— requires a reasonable commute

— pay reasonable well and offers benefits

— doesn’t require 70 hour work weeks

— offers opportunities to learn and grow.

You’re more likely to find these things and, in turn, career contentment by pursuing an unpopular career than the millions pursuing a “cool” one.

Eat up my author friends – (Evin Wilkins – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is self-publishing vain?

My lovely wife understands my fixation on publishing and thanks to her understanding, she has provided me with some great blogging material this morning. Much to my delight, I opened my email and she had forwarded me an article from NPR. It’s a great one written by Lynn Neary and I’m going to share it with my loyal followers out there. Enjoy!

They used to call it the “vanity press,” and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

TV blogger Alan Sepinwall’s self-published book, The Revolution Was Televised, came out just before Thanksgiving. Within two weeks he had a review in The New York Times — a positive review — by the widely read and often critical Michiko Kakutani, who also named it one her favorite books of the year. This is what book publicists and their writers dream of, and Sepinwall didn’t even see it coming.

“I was sitting at my computer on the Monday, the day before it ran,” he says, “and all of a sudden I see an email from a Times photo editor saying, ‘Hi, The Times will be running a review of your book tomorrow, we need an author photo. Can you help us?’ “

Turns out Kakutani is a fan of Sepinwall’s popular blog, What’s Alan Watching?, and her review almost immediately helped boost sales of his book. But that doesn’t happen to most self-published writers. Hanna Brooks Olsen was happy just to see a published version her book, Hanged Man’s Leap.

“It was way more exciting than I thought it was going to be,” she says. “I immediately told any of my friends who I knew had e-readers, and I obviously emailed my mother too, with a link.”

Brooks Olsen wrote about her self-publishing experience for the online magazine LitReactor. She got editing help from her parents, and her boyfriend designed the cover; but otherwise she did it all herself. E-publishing is the quickest way to go, and Brooks Olsen chose Amazon’s Kindle Direct service because it seemed easy to use — and she liked having the power of Amazon behind her. “And it does sort of get sold randomly at times,” she says of her book. “I’ll get a direct deposit from Amazon every now and then for $10 or $15, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I must have sold a couple more that month.’ “

But the process wasn’t problem-free. There were formatting issues, and Brooks Olsen had to wade through a lot of legalese to figure out the contract with Amazon. She sees the process as an experiment, but says that if you’re more serious about selling a book, you might want some help.

And help seems to be out there. Do a quick search of the Internet and you’ll find lots of help for writers who want to self-publish, from companies like Smashwords, which publishes and distributes e-books; to Lulu, which publishes both electronic and print books, and offers a range of services that cost up to $5,000.

“It’s everything from website design, to social media strategies, to cover design, to editing packages,” says Lulu marketing director Brian Matthews. Lulu has been around since 2002, long before the current self-publishing boom. Matthews says a lot of Lulu’s customers just want to print a few copies of the book for family or friends, but others have seen all the self-publishing success stories and think they can duplicate that.

“Obviously … the percentages are small, but in the democratized world of self-publishing, there are very low barriers, and if someone has a good story to tell, is able to tap into a community, an interested set of readers … they can find that success,” Matthews says.

It may seem that self-publishing companies are taking advantage of writers with little hope of making their money back. But even a writer with a fighting chance of success — like Alan Sepinwall — needs some help. Sepinwall hired a professional editor and used his blog as a publicity platform. But he wasn’t so sure about designing and formatting the book himself.

“I’m a writer,” he says. “I’m not a layout guy, I’m not an artist. So I could have come with something on my own, but it would have looked amateurish in some way. And so I figured, all right, I’m going to stick to my strengths, and I will bring in other people to help me.”

A friend recommended a company called 52 Novels to help design and format the book. All in all, Sepinwall spent about $2,500 on self-publishing, which at the time seemed like a lot of money. “I turned down this offer from the one publisher a year ago because I thought it wasn’t what I was hoping for,” he says.

“And for a while, when I was going through this self-publishing odyssey, I kept sort of saying to myself, ‘What a mistake. What did you do? That was money in the bank — you’re never going to make that much selling it on your own!’ I’ve already made quite a bit more than that.”

There have been more and more self-publishing successes recently, and the audiences are growing by leaps and bounds, says Carolyn Reidy. She’s the CEO of Simon & Schuster, which recently announced that it’s launching a new self-publishing service. If traditional publishers want to survive, Reidy says, they have to keep up with the rapid changes taking place in the industry. The growth of self-publishing is one of them.

“We actually understand that it is a different world than what we do,” she says. “We want to understand it, and if it is going to … be a threat to our business, we definitely want to understand it and also see how we can turn that to our advantage. And one of the advantages is, it is a great way to find authors, also new genres and new audiences.”

The new company, Archway, will also offer a range of publishing packages to aspiring authors. Reidy says no one from Simon & Schuster will be directly involved in publishing or editing Archway books — though they will keep track of sales.

“And one of the advantages to actually having this relationship,” she says, “is that we will begin to see sales velocity and other things like that earlier in the game.”

And that is an important point, because while self-publishing may be all the rage right now, the truth is that the ultimate goal for a lot of writers is a contract with a traditional publishing company. Sepinwall is already considering that possibility.

“It would put it in brick and mortar stores, it would put it in college bookstores, it would put it in other places, it would make it more widely available to people,” he says. “It depends on what deal would be presented to me to make it worth giving up the rights to it, which I have right now.”

Yep, it’s like that. (Evin Wilkins – aka Mr. Guru at http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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