WWIV Book 1

FOUR WWIV Books are now available on Amazon.
Click here for more information.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Learn from MY mistakes

"Mistakes, I've made a few, but then again, too few to mention..."

Can you name that song? (My Way)   How about any of the many performers? (Elvis should be first on the list)   Whenever I hear that song, or read the words, the voice of Elvis Presley jumps into my head and takes over. It did just now, writing those words again.

But, the point to this week's post is about learning from mistakes, my mistakes. And trust me, I've made plenty. So whether you're a first time author, or somewhere in your sophomore year (like me), please read on.

Mistake #1: I rushed my first novel to press

In my defense, I wanted to have it on the market in November of 2013. I had to wait, and none to patiently, until March 28, 2014. I know, that's only four months. And in a lifetime that will hopefully span 80+ years, it's a mere 0.4% of my time here on earth. But I really wanted it out for Christmas! Big mistake.

Even when I released it on March 28th, it still wasn't really ready for publication. In the first three months I found, and more embarrassingly readers pointed out, at least two dozen grammar, punctuation and misplaced word mistakes. Had I waited for a few more people to carefully read the book, I could have avoided these issues.

Mistake #2: I skipped the line editing process

This kind of goes with the first mistake actually. But even if I had rushed the publication of my baby, and had taken the time to somehow get the darn thing line edited, it would have been a much better piece of work.

Now, line editing can be expensive; I realize that. In place of the cost I could have had three more betas read the final version and asked them to look for everything that made their eyes bleed. Here's an example:

On page 153 of the original paperback proof, near the end of the first paragraph, it reads:

The was no way could I object to her request. (Think could and I got transposed there?)

I read through this manuscript more than twenty times. Members of my family another dozen. Four beta readers saw this version. And still no one caught this error until approximately July 15th. That almost four months after I released the book. UGH!

Mistake #3: I failed to plan any promotion for the release

This was kind of silly on my part; especially since I did it on purpose. Without any fanfare, I quickly struck the publish button on the Amazon KDP site at approximately 3:30 p.m. on March 27, 2014. The next day the novel was on Amazon in ebook format. Yay me...

Sort of.

You see, I wanted to find out if this book would grow organically. I wanted it to live or die on its on merits. That was so stupid on my part. I failed to realize that most ebooks by first time authors rarely sell many copies, outside of their family and friends. Most of the time they don't sell any outside of your inner circle.

But dumb me decided to do an experiment. So when I sold my first copy on March 29th or 30th, I patted myself on the back and beamed proudly. It worked; my great cover and perfect blurb were enough to sell my novel. I got lucky; I've sold plenty of copies of WWIV - In The Beginning. For my next book, I plan on doing a much better job of promoting the book's release...ahead of time.

So, learn from MY mistakes

Don't rush things, take your time. Make sure you put the best possible product in front of the public. And plan your release. Plan a promotion of any size. Just do something! Anything is better than what I did (or failed to do).

Do you have mistakes form your debut novel you'd like to share? Please feel free to add them in the comments below. Realizing that everyone makes mistkes helps us all feel better - more human.

Until next week, keep reading.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Special Giveaway Reminder: Last Two Days

Goodreads Book Giveaway

WWIV by E.A. Lake


by E.A. Lake

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: WWIV - Kids at War

Okay, here it is; the cover for my second novel in the WWIV series:

It's really about as dystopian as I could hope for. The dull grey letters, the old farmhouse, the bare tree limbs, the muted black and white picture - just perfect. Thanks again to Laura LaRoche at LLPix for all of her awesome help and creativity.

Before I continue, I feel a word of caution is required for this novel.

NO! I am not nuts and I did not create a book where I arm a bunch of 8-year-olds with semi-automatic weapons ... so there!

Although, you do have to admit that it might make an interesting premise for a book.

Now, without further delay, please click on the link below and you will be taken to a free sample (Chapter One) of this soon to be released book.

Click here for your free sample of Chapter One

That's all for today - I'll have another post next Wednesday. I think it's about learning from mistakes, but I may be mistaken.

Oh yes, I am quite the funny one tonight!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Irrational Fear of Publishing

There are two types of fear in life:

Rational & Irrational

Our job, actually mine today, is to help you determine whether your fear of publishing your manuscript - that you've been working on for the past decade - is rational (or not).

The largest fear of publishing your baby is the fear of failure. What happens if no one buys my book, you ask. Well, that's a good point. Based on available stats, you won't sell a whole lot of copies of your first novel. Some, not a lot - but some, will sell zero! Now that makes the anxiety level of a normal person increase 100 fold. But should you let it be your prevailing fear?

NO! Regardless of how your book sells...

You are a HUGE success by just getting it published. Think about it this way: There are about 9 billion people in the world. Currently, there are something like 4 million books available on Amazon. If we use these basic numbers, and if we assume every two books represent one author, you are in a class of 0.022 people in the world who have published. And that's GREAT!

Publishing is scary, but the fear of publishing is IRRATIONAL

At least that's how I see it; this publishing game. Think of it another way: One out of the next 4,500 people you meet (on average) has actually published a novel. In the US alone, there are approximately 15,000 towns and villages of that size (around 4,500). That makes you a big fish in a small pond. Of course, there are probably more authors per capita in the US than any other country, so maybe a lot of us are small fish in a large lake. But the point is:

By self-publishing your novel, you have succeeded 

And isn't that something? I sure believe it is.

Let's look at another irrational fear that has been ingrained in humans for millennia. It's the fear of Canis Lupus - the wolf.

For some reason, we here in North America have a huge fear of wolves. And for the most part this fear is irrational - extremely irrational.

The last fatal predatory wolf attack in the contiguous 48 states was back in 1888. That's more than 125 years ago. The last two documented non-fatal  attacks both occurred in Minnesota (yay - where I live - boo). The most recent attack took place in 2013. Before that, it was 1988. That's 25 years between attacks.

Let's look at the wolves' cousin - Canis Familiaris - the family dog.

So far there have been 18 fatal attacks by these family pets in 2014. Wait, we've gone 25 years between non-fatal wolf attacks and yet a dog kills a person here in the US every 12 days or so? And we're afraid of wolves exactly why again?

You are a billion times more likely to have Big Foot sneak into your home than you are to be attacked by one of my dogs

Your fear of the wolf is irrational. For most of us, unless you have a certain breed that seems to do most of the attacking, the fear of dogs is equally irrational. I have an eight-year-old female American Black Lab (Bella) and a seven-year-old male Brittany (Norman). In the last 25 years there have been exactly two fatal attacks by full-blooded labs and none by any sort of spaniels (much less a Brittany named Norm). The fear of dogs at my house is thus deemed irrational.

The bottom line is this: We all possess fears - rational and irrational. Just like being afraid of Norman would be irrational, so is the fear of self-publishing. I mean, come on; if I did it, anyone out there can do it. And I mean that. Just get it ready as best you can - make sure it has a great cover, has been edited, and is formatted properly - and hit the publish button. YOU CAN DO IT.

Until next week, never give up on your dreams. No matter how large or small they may be, always dream. Because a person without a dream can never have a dream come true.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Organic Growth - The Best of Books

Okay, so today is Friday August 8th, 2014. As of this morning I have sold almost 3,000 copies of my debut novel, WWIV - In The Beginning. From what I'm told by others, that represents a good start to my writing career. By this time next month Book Two in the series - WWIV: Kids at War - will hit the charts and I can only hope for as good a showing as Book One.

Here's the thing, most of these sales, most of the growth in the sales of this book have been organic. That means I've spent very little on advertising in attempts to sell the novel. Most sales have come via Amazon's amazing search engine and recommendations.

Since some books sell poorly, I can't give all the credit to Amazon. Some of the credit actually goes to the book itself: The unique cover, the sales blurb, the concept, and of course the genre. Let it be known that many readers in the Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic genre are veracious readers. They devour new concepts and novels like my dogs with their food at dinnertime. For that, I am thankful!

Organic Growth Rocks

And I bet you know why, don't you?

First off, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get traction. The book (and Amazon) do the hard work. To date, I have spent $562 to promote Book One. I can't really tell you how many copies have been sold as a result of this advertising, but I figure somewhere around 200 - 300 is the actual amount. There's probably been a small residual affect as well, so let's say 400 copies have been sold thus far as a direct result of my advertising efforts.

The second benefit, and this is key, is the readership I have gained. Most people (at least 85% this far) have chosen this book by their own volition, with no outside input influencing their decision. There's good likelihood that as many as 80% of those readers will consider purchasing Book Two (and Three and Four and Five). This allows me the luxury of concentrating on my writing, instead of wasting hours consider various advertising options.

Not all marketing is created equal

This really goes without saying, but it's always worth repeating. I have tried playing with a number of advertising options. Some popular to many, others not so common. I know for a fact that when I stopped one certain method, my sales remained stable (actually, they increased slightly). Saved some money on that one.

About a month after the books release I did a small blog tour. I saw sales jump immediately and remained at a higher level for a number of weeks afterwards. That was the best $135 I think I've ever spent in my life. I am definitely using that tour again for Book Two.

So the moral is this: Use your money wisely!

Shoot for Organic Growth

And just how do you accomplish such a nebulous task? Here's five pieces of advice that you've read before, but (again) are worth repeating:

1. Write a great, and unique, story/manuscript
2. Have that manuscript professionally edited
3. Get a professionally designed cover
4. Format your manuscript into the best ebook/paperback out there (or hire it out)
5. Spend your (small) advertising budget wisely. Consider a Book Blog Tour

That's it, really. Do you best; give everything 110%. And realize that some books won't sell many copies. That's just the way it goes - sorry. But don't give up. Get writing immediately on your second book. You'll be surprised how much easy it all is the second time around. And learn from your mistakes on book one. I know I have. And I've made plenty of mistakes on this journey so far.

Next week we'll have a lively discussion about fear - rational and irrational. I promise to keep it light.