Posts Tagged ‘books’

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Copyright 2012. Natasha Ramsey
Copyright 2012. Natasha Ramsey

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I’m always on the lookout for a good book. If an author I like has a book coming out, I anxiously stalk the bookstore’s shelves although I know I’ll end up buying the Kindle version of the book (e – book) that I can take everywhere with me easily and discreetly.
I’m starting to think, though, that this book addiction is good and bad. Good, because let’s face it, there’s nothing quite as intellectually and sometimes emotionally satisfying as a good story. However, when you’ve been led to believe that the story you’re about to consume is going to be not only enjoyable, but will fill your core to its utmost and give you precisely what you’re craving, and  it doesn’t…that is the bad part. It is THE worst feeling of abandonment; THE biggest letdown in something that you believed in, needed, or even yearned for! Why would an author do that to his her readers!?
Sometimes a story does not deliver answers or reasons related to the premise, and at times when the author attempts to, the answers, reasons, etc. are so fake, weak, unrealistic or forced, it makes me mash my teeth and want to throw the book out if a high window. But I don’t because I’d be throwing my kindle, iPad or BlackBerry away. Maybe Kindle is saving me from wreaking havoc on a poor, unsuspecting printed book.
Look, if a book is good, I’ll happily sing its praises and tell everyone who enjoys a good story, about it. If it’s bad I’ll warn readers away and explain why. Not because I think authors are bad people, hell, I am one, (author, that is, not a bad person…or so I’d like to think!) but because there are so many good stories out there just waiting to be heard, to be seen, and to be thoroughly enjoyed with reckless abandon. I refuse to spend time with bad stories that let me down more than a loved one forgetting my birthday (and those who know of my month long celebrating know how much of a disappointment that’ll be) by the plot, weak ending, poor editing and bad storytelling. I realize taste is subjective but I dare say that even if a story is about a topic I don’t particularly care for, or even if I hate the protagonist, if it’s a well written story, I won’t totally dislike it.
So what’s the deal with this post about writing? I really just want more good stories! I really want those in charge of putting out good stories to stop bullshitting me and other readers about how good or essential a bad book is, in order to make money. I would also love to see editors and publishers promoting good stories with enthusiasm instead of complaining about the decline of the publishing and printing world and without complaining about how large or how annoying and tedious the slush pile, the unsolicited manuscripts sent to publishers by hopeful authors, can be. Who knows, maybe the decline in numbers of the printed book and magazine, and the highly discussed demise of the traditional publishing industry is partly due to the promotion, hype and lies about bad stories. Either way, stop making up false stories about a bad story. Good stories are out there, I just know they are.

By Guest Blogger and Author: Phyllis Zimbler Miller

For those of you who are also on this journey of self-publishing, you may agree that the most important UP is the ability to self publish.

Yes, this seems rather obvious.  But stop and think – until very recently you might spend years getting rejections from traditional publishers before finally shelling out a lot of money for self-published physical books that sat stacked in your garage because how many authors have the funds to hire a traditional publicist to promote their books.

First, POD (print on demand) self-publishing came along.  Now at least no books sat stacked in your garage.  And the Internet provided free promotion opportunities without hiring a publicist.

Then the ebook invasion on all kinds of electronic devices has enabled authors to bring down the price of their books.  (When I self-published my 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL, Amazon’s CreateSpace insisted on a price for the book that I knew was way too high for an unknown author.  Now CreateSpace allows authors to set their own prices within certain parameters.)

Ironically, another UP of being a self-published author is that you know you have to do all the promotion yourself.   In 1992 when a traditional publisher brought out the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION that I wrote with Rabbi Karen L. Fox, we were assigned a publisher publicist.  Needless to say, Karen and I had to do the most of the promotion ourselves.

On the other hand, a DOWN of self publishing is doing all the promotion yourself.  And this means that part of each day must be spent away from writing your books.  But, as a writer, you have an advantage over other people marketing on the web.  You can write!

Yes, you can write blog posts, guest blog posts, social media updates that make sense, emails to people who have given you their email, etc.  (I finally took my own advice and now have a way for readers to get updates on my books – see )

Another UP and DOWN biggie:

Amazon – yes, the elephant in the room.

The UP (unless you make the mistake I once did of giving control of my ebook to an ebook converter instead of having the ebook uploaded to my own Kindle Direct Publishing account) is that you can control everything about your Kindle ebooks yourself.  The DOWN, of course, is that you have to do this.

I have now written a nonfiction book to help other authors with some of these tasks.  See TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON: 3 TOP TIPS BOOKS IN 1 at

I wrote these TOP TIPS ebooks because I found that many of the free online book promotion opportunities are not intuitive.  In fact, some of them are counter-intuitive.

What I also learned to do in order to control my own books is to convert my Word manuscripts into ebook formatting that looks good.  Here is a blog post I wrote to explain the steps that I take:  A big shoutout to Guido Henkel, whose blog series enabled me to start on this path.  (I include the link to his series in my blog post.)

Now in the general arena of UPS and DOWNS – lots of things you learn how to do to promote your self-published books will work some days and not others.  Here is an example of one thing I had to learn the hard way:

If your book is on KDP Select (the ebook is exclusively on Kindle for 90-day periods; the physical book is not exclusive) and you want to set a free KDP Select day for the following 90-day period, you cannot do this until the new period starts.  Of course, this isn’t stated anywhere that I could find.  It took several back and forth emails to KDP before this was revealed.

(As to whether to put your books on KDP Select, I personally believe the answer is yes.  Yet many other authors believe the answer is no.  Thus this is another area in which a self-published author must make his or her own decision.)

In conclusion, do I think people should self publish?

Not a simple answer.  First, it depends a great deal on people’s patience with the traditional publisher route (getting an agent, getting a publisher, probably at least a year from publisher acceptance until the book comes out, probably no cover approval, etc.).  This usually takes a lot of work on the part of the author.

Second, it depends on your willingness to commit over the long haul to promoting your self-published books.  You must realize that most authors will NOT be overnight successes.  You have to keep moving forward over and around the obstacles to getting out the word about your book.

A word of warning: If you are going to self-publish, then be careful not to get caught in limbo where, for example, your ebook converter uploads to the converter’s Kindle account instead of your own.  If you do self publish, you want all the benefits of being a self-published author – complete control over your own books.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books and ebooks.  See all her books at her Amazon Author Central Profile at

She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company

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