Ebook promos 2014

First of all, I want to reiterate that 2009, 2010, and 2011 are long gone and they’re not coming back! What does that well known fact have to do with you, ole self published author of 2014? The answer is, a lot! Why? Because many of the tactics & techniques that self publishers used in those heady days are no longer relevant today. The landscape has changed, forever. Using free books to garner sales? Gone (Unless you get a BookBub promo coinciding with it, forget about it) Using the .99 cent eBook price point  to spike sales? No sir, it’s not as effective today.  There are  a lot of .99 cent books out there. Yours will be no different. How about getting a lot of reviews? Nope. While reviews are still important, they no longer carry the ass-weight of those heady years. You can thank John Locke and a lot of your contemporaries’ families and friends for that. Consumers don’t trust reviews as much as they did back then. And last but not least, there’s the self-published author stigma. It’s back baby! In those heady 2009 to 2011 years, the stigma was there; but it wasn’t so evident on the digital eBook scene. See, most consumers back then just assumed that everything in digital form was just like the hard book scene,  traditionally published. So, a self published author needed to only put out an eBook and most consumers judged it on its individual merits. If you don’t believe me, go back and read some of the one star reviews for the Mill River Recluse. Some of the consumers questioned why the book got published in the first place! They just assumed that a trad-publisher put it out. Darcie Chan didn’t face a consumer self publisher’s stigma. Unfortunately, her success was both a blessing and a curse for self publishers. On the one hand, it encouraged self publishers to get their work out ASAP. But on the other hand, it encouraged EVERYONE to get their work out ASAP. The result, a lot of CRAP in the marketplace. In 2014, this hurts self publishers in a big way. The stigma is back. Consumers are questioning self published books in a big way!

Am I claiming that the sky is falling for self publishers? No, I am not. But what I am saying is that you can’t treat 2014 like it’s 2011. That year is gone, forever. In 2014, self pubs or Indies have to work five times as hard as Indies did in 2011. In addition, we have to watch out for the sharks. There are any number of predators out there ready to take our money, claiming they are the key to eBook-buying readers and thus, sales. Beware of them. But Indies have to also recognize that they have to market their books. There’s just no way around it. If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it fall, does it make a sound? Hell no, it doesn’t! Someone has to know about your book. I know some authors have claimed book sales success without marketing. Don’t believe it. What they’re saying is, that they didn’t spend money on some of the marketing promos available. They simply used their already existent Facebook, email, or Twitter accounts, etc.. That’s marketing folks! If you have those avenues established and available to you, more power to you. You’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ve got some work to do.

In next week’s blog, I will share some of my ventures in self publishing promos and marketing. I will let you know how effective some promos like BookBlast, BookGorrilla, Ereader news, etc. l. My results may or may not be typical; but at least you’ll have a benchmark. So stay tuned!

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My Two Dads

I am a child of divorce. My parents separated sometime after my second birthday and the divorce was finalized a couple of years later. Immediately after the initial separation, my dad took my sister and me and left town. For awhile, it was just the three of us. To be honest, I was too young to miss my mom. In fact, I have no early memories of my mother and no recollection whatsoever of missing her. My earliest memories are those of me, my dad, and my sister. That’s the life I remember. And it was quite enjoyable as far as I was concerned. Meanwhile, my mom was going nuts without her children. Eventually, she took her case to the courts, ultimately winning custody of me and my sister. When she finally got us, she’d met someone, a man who would eventually become my stepfather. This man eventually became a father to me and he loved me unconditionally. The problem with our relationship was that I had a dad who’d I spent practically all of my first three years of existence with. And who was still alive, still loved me. The courts had to intervene to get him to give me up. You know what happens to a kid in a situation like that. When he has a stepfather who loves him and raises him, and he has a living breathing day who loves him and provides financial support, yet days, months, and years go by without meaningful visits. You know what happens. The kid, me ends up not being real close to either. I kept my stepfather at arms length because of my natural dad, and my natural dad by virtue of not living in the same town was also kept at arms length. As a kid, it’s challenging negotiating such a situation and I regret not knowing sooner how to do it. My stepfather has been dead nearly eleven years now. Although I told him I loved him before, I never told him how much he meant to me. Currently that’s the only regret I have in life. My dad is still alive and I tell him I love him every chance I get. We’re not as close as we possibly could have been had he raised me. But we’re getting there. Every time I see him, I think about how the courts had to intervene to separate us. I don’t know what went wrong with my dad and mother. And right now I don’t even care. I ended up with two dads and I loved them both dearly. I have two sons and I love my wife dearly, so hopefully they won’t ever have the experience of dealing with two dads. But if they do, I hope they’re fortunate enough to get someone like my stepfather.

Mrs. Read

One of the things I’m going to do from time to time on my blog is give a shout out to people who at one time or another has inspired, influenced, taught, or has otherwise helped mold me into the person I am today. And I like to think that I’m a good, solid, decent person with my head on straight. (If anyone begs to differ, I’ll apologize upfront for libeling myself) The first of these shouts out will be to people who are still alive as far as I know. Then, I will gradually give shouts out to folk who I know have already passed on.

No one gets anywhere by him or herself. I most certainly did not. And although my journey is not complete, there are many people who had a hand in getting me this far. So without further adieu, I give you Mrs. Ruth Read, my 11th grade English teacher. Now anyone who has seen my bio on my website (www.cedwardbaldwin.com) or at my Amazon Author’s page, knows that I attribute one of my former professors (Elizabeth Doak–more on her in a later post) for giving me the notion to even consider writing as a career. But Mrs. Read inspired me to well, READ. Ironic or funny I know. But, it’s true. She and I had the best time discussing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter. She just made me want to read a story and reread it until I absorbed every nuance of it. From symbols to characters to setting, whatever. She made reading and English fun. She’s a big part of my foundation in writing and I will forever be grateful to her. So, Mrs. Read if you ever stumble across this post, just know that Curtis Baldwin, Jr. appreciates everything you did for him. I know I was just one of the many students that you taught, but you always made me feel as if I was the only one. In that, you had a gift. THANK YOU a million times!!

Embracing family

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the movie Horrible Bosses. (a funny movie by the way). There’s a scene at the beginning of the movie where one of the main characters stated his childhood dream was to be a husband, not a fireman or policeman, but a husband. I laughed when I heard that. But probably not for the same reason the people in the theater were laughing. I laughed because that was actually very similar to my dream. It’s true that I also dreamed about being a professional athlete or a fireman. But I also dreamed that I had a wife and kids to share my life with. After scoring the winning basket or touchdown, I’d go home to the wife and kids. I also dreamed about putting out a major fire and saving a couple of lives, and then going home to the wife and kids. I’m very blessed that I’ve got a beautiful wife and two handsome sons. My family is a dream-achievement.  And they’re also the motivation that pushes me toward my other dreams and goals. My family was the inspiration behind me finishing my debut novel, and they provide me the motivation to write every day in order to finish my second one. I love them and I thank God for blessing me with them. So, in short, I guess what I’m trying to say is while pursuit of goals and dreams are good, take the time to smell the roses and enjoy what you’ve already accomplished.

Publishers Weekly, really?

Okay, as an author I know when I put my work out there that everyone’s not going to get it, like it, appreciate it, whatever. I get that. And I know that I’m going to get some scathing reviews from time to time, I get that as well. But I got to say, my recent Publishers Weekly review for Fathers House was unnecessarily harsh. Fathers House is my debut novel. It’s mostly a thriller, though I also consider it literary fiction. I attempted to merge commercialism with literarism (I know that’s not a word; but it’s my blog) Not an easy task. Anyway Publishers Weekly concentrated only on the thriller aspect of my book and the reviewer stated, and I quote, “Nothing shatters the illusion of a thriller more than a ludicrous and gratuitous detail.” Then he goes on to say that my description of an eleven year old child prodigy having earned law and medical degrees strained credulity to the breaking point.”Now look just because something hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Child prodigies are capable of anything. I don’t know how they’re so smart. They just are. I accept that. I also accept the fact that maybe one day one of them will decide to earn  law and medical degrees in record time. When they do, I hope they write me so I can alert Publishers Weekly.

Anyway, the reviewer ends his critique of Fathers House by questioning the tone of the book. I guess I wouldn’t be so peeved by the review, had this same reviewer not given Dan Brown a pass for some of the outlandish stunts in Angels and Demons. If you get the time read Fathers House review from Publishers Weekly and then read that mag’s review for Angels and Demons. It will be clear to you that the same reviewer wrote both reviews. Then ask yourself why Dan Brown can strain credulity; but C. Edward Baldwin can not. Could it be that Dan Brown is a mega-bookseller and C. Edward Baldwin is uh, not. (not yet anyway). I’m just saying. Just because Fathers House is Indie published, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t garner the same respect as the trad-published and ultra-successful Angels and Demons.  Besides what’s wrong with straining credulity when you’re writing make-believe anyway?

Random thoughts

This is my first post of this blog. I have a couple of posts on my blog at Goodreads; but I’ve shamefully neglected to keep the post going. I hope I’ll do better on this one. I don’t know exactly what type of blog I’m aiming for. I’ve visited some pretty good ones. There are many folk out there who really put a lot of time and effort into their blogs. I don’t know if I’ll ever be one of those type people. Dare I dream!

Anyway, right now is March Madness time and my Tar Heels are still alive. I hope they go on a deep tournament run. It’s such a sad day for me whenever they lose their tournament game. I know as a Tar Heel fan I’ve been fortunate to see them win four national titles in my lifetime and go to 11 final fours; but still, March losses hurt for while.

Anyway this is my first blog post, just a get your feet wet affair.

C. Edward