Category Archives: Marketing

Author Interview: Cory Groshek

This author interview arrives in time to help with the new year and all those new projects you want to tackle. Cory Groshek has written the first book in a series that teaches readers young and old how to create abundance.

Breaking Away is a ton of fun with warmth that you’ll feel every time you read and reread this book. Here’s what Cory has to say.

What was your motivation to write this series?

It was the fact that our public schools are not teaching our children what they really need to know to be successful later in life—how to dream big, why risk-taking is necessary, the importance of trusting their gut, and why they should always make decisions based on faith (or on what they do want) and not out of fear (or on what they don’t want).

Growing up, I wasn’t taught any of this, and I really wish I had been, because had I been, I believe I wouldn’t have taken 33 years to release my first book, or to achieve the success I’ve achieved in the last couple years in general. My hope with the Rabylon Series is that it will inspire children (and their parents) to not only dream bigger, but to act on their dreams and thereby see them become reality, as mine have.

When you take a break from writing, is it a full and total break or is your mind constantly parsing the world for fodder? What does that parsing look like? How does it make you feel as an artist? As a human being?

I am constantly engaged in deep thought, so while I may take a break from writing to focus on, say, marketing or promoting my work, I never take a break from creativity. I couldn’t shut my mind off or stop its gears from turning even if I wanted to (which I don’t), and I am always brainstorming new ideas for stories, books, blog posts, etc. As such, I keep my smart phone or a notebook handy at all times, just in case I need to write down or text some of my ideas to myself.

Being bombarded with so many ideas all day, every day can leave me feeling overwhelmed at times, but overall I find it exhilarating. I love the warm, fuzzy “rush” I feel when a strange, new thought pops into my head, and I feel very blessed that so many such thoughts dawn upon me, because I know a lot of people who struggle very hard with writer’s block and/or who try (in my opinion) too hard to force ideas, instead of just letting them come to them (as I do).

If I could give one piece of advice to anyone out there struggling with coming up with new ideas (or “fodder”, if you will) for books, stories, etc., it would be this: Be not only open-minded, but openhearted as well, when it comes to the thoughts and ideas that come to you. Don’t worry about whether they are “good” or “bad”—just let them come to you. And when they do, your job is not to judge them, but to simply absorb them (like a sponge), so that you can use them later as the raw material from which you may craft your next story, book, etc. That’s what I do, and it’s worked out great for me, not only in terms of book- and blog-writing, but in terms of general, all-purpose brainstorming as well.

From your perspective as an author, what do you feel is the biggest challenge to the publishing industry today? Is there a way to solve that challenge?

The biggest challenge is getting noticed—in “separating ourselves from the pack” or “rising above the noise”, so to say, that surrounds us in this busy world we live in. In Robert Greene’s brilliant book (and one of my personal favorites) ‘The 48 Laws of Power’, one of the laws is ‘Court attention at all costs’—which basically means “do whatever you have to do to get everybody to look at you instead of someone else”—but judging from what I’ve seen, that is far easier said than done.

Today, we are drowning in any ocean of Tweets and ten-second sound bites, and it is much more difficult to “cut through the clutter” and get peoples’ attention than it used to be, especially if you are an introverted author, and especially whereas Amazon.com is filled with millions of self-published books that are really nothing more than glorified blog posts written not for the sake of enriching the lives of others, but for the sake of making a “quick buck.”

The way to solve this challenge—in my opinion—is to stop thinking like an author and start thinking like a shameless self-promoter (as “bad” as that may sound); to start thinking like, dare I say it, a Kardashian. As much as we as authors don’t want to make “it” (this whole “selling books” thing) about us, we have to if we want to be successful. You see, people don’t just buy books these days—they buy the author, just like how people go to see movies because, say, Matt Damon (or whichever actor or actress they love the most) is in them, regardless of what the movie is about.

We as authors need to stop thinking of ourselves as authors and to start thinking of ourselves as brands, like the Kardashians do. While this doesn’t necessarily mean putting out sex tapes to generate publicity for ourselves (although it worked for Kim Kardashian), it does mean thinking outside the box, doing things that other authors wouldn’t even consider doing, and being just as creative with our marketing and promotion of ourselves as we are with the stories we tell in our books.

If you think you’re simply going to throw your new book into the Amazonian Sea of Mediocrity that surrounds us, like it’s some sort of message in a bottle, and have this lead to millions of dollars in book sales, a movie deal, and a billion-dollar net worth like J.K. Rowling’s, then I’m sorry, my friend, but you are sorely mistaken. If you want to be like J.K., you can’t just be a “writer” or an “author” , and you can’t just leave your success up to luck or random chance (which don’t exist, by the way)—you must become a brand (like McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Apple) that people know and love, like they love their cheeseburgers, lattes, and laptops. As for how you can go about becoming such a brand, well, I guess you’ll have to visit my blog, ManifestationMachine.com, for help with that!

WR Note: Anyone who signs up for the blog is going to get freebies!

Finding the discipline to keep writing can be tough. Which “get writing” techniques are most effective for you? 

For me, finding the motivation to write is not about discipline—it’s about knowing, first of all, what I want to write and, second, why I want to write it. If I don’t know the what or the why, then I don’t even bother trying to write, because without the what and the why, then the how (the actual process by which the writing physically happens, or by which the story or book we have in mind comes to fruition) cannot manifest itself. I find that once I’ve got the what and the why down, then the how (the sitting down and actually writing) takes care of itself.

When I hear other writers complain that they don’t have “enough time” to write, it’s not that they don’t have the time; it’s that they haven’t created the time. And if I hear them complain that they find it very difficult to force themselves to just sit down and write, the problem isn’t a lack of discipline—the problem is that they either don’t know what they want to write, or they simply don’t care enough about what they claim they want to write to actually write it (or both). Simply put, if you have clarity on what you want to write and conviction to get the writing done, it will get done—if not, then it won’t. End of story (no pun intended).

Can you give us a sneak peek into your current project?

My next project is a book I’ve had in mind for the last year or so, which is a self-help book for adults named after my personal growth and development and brand, Manifestation Machine. It will focus upon a metaphysical process (involving what I’ve labeled “The Four C’s”) for achieving our dreams and creating what I call “a life worth dying for” that I’ve personally used to go from a working part-time in a dead-end job, living at home with my father, and being in debt up to my eyeballs to self-employed (doing what I love), living in a fully paid-off house of my own, and having a net worth of over $300,000.

Advertisements

How Indie Authors Can Break into Libraries

No, I don’t mean breaking in like a thief to steal lovely ancient copies of books that are bound in leather and smell of old paper. I mean getting your books placed on the shelves of public libraries nationwide!
Library Journal is the leading publication for libraries in the US. Soon they will launch SELF-e, a discovery platform that allows libraries to find independent books. WIth 16,000 public libraries across the US, this is a significant new market.
To get started, go over to Library Journal’s website. You’ll have to submit your book; only ones that meet quality standards will be accepted. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to reach new readers.
Note that the distribution is royalty free. This means that you will not be paid for borrows or inclusion in any collection. But if you have several books and one of them is championed by librarians, you have a great new way to direct readers to your other books and make sales.

How to Net More Than $0.35 on Your Promo Ebooks #epubchat #ebooks #epub #indieauthor

Look, let’s be honest. Earning $0.35 per unit sold through Amazon’s restrictive royalty rate sucks. You should be earning closer to the full $0.99. Your book is worth it, and you need to make some money to offset advertising costs.
You could sign up as an Amazon affiliate and earn 4% more on each sale…but you have to refer those sales yourself, which means you can’t net that additional amount on advertisers’ promos. And 4% is pennies, still, so why bother?
Gumroad.com has the answer. They’re a sales site that allows authors, artist and others to sell their digital prices easily and for very little costs per unit. You’re looking at about $0.35 plus a percentage (under 3%) cost per unit sold. That means you net $0.61 per sale. That’s nearly twice as much!
Sell 100 copies on Amazon, net $35.
Sell 100 copies on Gumroad, net $61.
Sell 1,000 copies on Amazon, net $3,500.
Sell 1,000 copies on Gumroad, net $6,100.
Now you’re talking!

How to Outwit the Kindle Unlimited Krash #amwriting #selfpublishing #epubchat

Kindle Unlimited isn’t doing anything new. Subscription services originated outside of Amazon, leading the way for readers and authors to find a new way to interact. But KU did tap into the largest market of ebook readers.
That has caused some difficulty for indie authors…and likely for traditionally published authors, as well. Generally payments are down, even if reading rates are the same or stronger.
What this means is that it is time once again to shift the way you produce and market your books. Consider having only some of them available through Kindle and sell the rest of your ebooks on a different site. This could work especially well if you allow print versions of all your books to remain on Amazon.
Also try moving the price points for ebooks you leave on Amazon to a higher point. This could change the borrow rate by broadcasting to readers that your work is worth more. Higher valuation results in greater respect, and more consumer demand.
Finally, always have a direct pathway for sales. Use Gumroad to sell ebooks directly to readers at a discounted price. You’ll receive more money per sale even at $0.99 than Amazon’s standard 35% royalty at that price and you’ll potentially reach more readers.

End-of-Year Book Marketing

As the fourth quarter of the year approaches, how will you handle your book marketing?
It’s important to consider a big push in the final quarter of the year.

First, you’ll be more visible during the gift-giving season. Print books have long been a staple for the gift market, and these days more people are giving ebooks as gifts.

Second, you’ll reduce your annual income tax by writing off any expenses associated with your marketing efforts.

Third, you’ll be in the best time of the year to increase your annual sales numbers.

Marketing plans from Writer’s Resource offer low-cost and zero-cost options for book sales…and have resulted in Amazon bestseller status. They can even give you access to the big bestseller lists from the New York Times and USA Today. 

Positive Trend for Christian Authors

At the BEA this year, a panel looked at Christian titles. They agreed that nowadays, the obstacles that used to be present are far less daunting.

It used to be that Christian titles were primarily distributed through the CBA, the Christian Booksellers Association. Now, however, Christianity has gone mainstream. Folks who don’t attend church regularly still want guidance, and they turn to books for that. The demand is growing steadily and sales are strong. They’re so good, in fact, that Christian titles are often now distributed through the ABA, the American Booksellers Association, which handles nearly all topics and categories.

If you’re working with a Christian title for adults, young adults or juvenile readers, let’s talk about your pitch today!

Marketing Assistance Overseas

Authorbuddies.com is a new website that connects authors with other authors and interested readers around the world. Everything from which bookstore to book a public reading to where to stay when you visit on your book tour can be found through these connections.

If you’re building your own tour or want to reach into foreign markets digitally, check out this site. And let me know how your experience went!