Self-publish Like a Business Owner + Giveaway

Self-publish Like a Business Owner + Giveaway

In an earlier post, I mentioned merging my pseudonym with my real name. What that means for you is a heads up for a giveaway I’m hosting through Backbone America. What is this giveaway all about? A few free coaching sessions.

Why hire a coach for self-publishing?

Self-publishing is like any other business, in that it has a product to be sold. As such, you’ll face many of the same challenges as other business owners.

Developing a product

Your books are your product and writing is the development stage. There will be times when you struggle to write your next book, finish your book, refine your book (editing), and even come up with an idea. A business coach can help you work through the early stages of development and moving forward toward publication.

Marketing

If you uploaded your book to a distribution channel and not received the results you expected, lack of or poor marketing is likely the culprit. A business coach can help you strategize, so you’ll have a marketing plan that not only fits your style and personality, but also attracts the right type of readers.

Build confidence

Being a business owner is an uncertain road. It can be full of failures. If you’ve ever received a bad review, been rejected by an agent or publisher, or had your work shredded by a critique, you know exactly what I mean. When those around you have torn you down, a business coach builds you up. Your business coach is your cheerleader, that person who believes in your ability to accomplish greatness. The focus isn’t on what you can’t do. Rather, the focus is on how you can achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself.

Those are just a few of the reasons. If you’re looking for additional reasons, I encourage you to visit the International Coach Federation, where I’m a member.

Work with Me Immediately

If you’re a go-getter and don’t want to put your dreams on hold for this giveaway, you can start working with me immediately by clicking here.

Don’t worry. If you win the giveaway, that’ll be icing on the cake. Your winning sessions will be added to your current package.

The Sweepstakes

Through the month of March 2017, Backbone America is hosting a sweepstakes. It includes over $1,000 in prizes.

Grand Prize

Three (3) winners will be selected for my REVEAL Next Steps package (Value $399). 

Find Clarity & Set Goals (2 sessions)

If you’re looking for clarity on one particular topic or ready to set a goal, REVEAL Next Steps is ideal. Some clients use this package for author branding, self-discovery, to get unstuck or brainstorm solutions.

WHITE LIST info@backboneamerica

If you win, you’re winner’s notification will come from this email

Terms & Conditions

Terms & ConditionA few key points from the Terms & Conditions:

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Giveaway runs from March 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017.
  • Open to residents of the United States, excluding Rhode Island, where the promotion is void.
  • Must be 18 or over to win.
  • Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded
  • Potential Winner must accept a prize by email within 48 hours of notification

For complete Terms & Conditions, click here.

Please Visit to the Following Supporters!

Unless otherwise stated, all these bloggers review indie authors. Consider them for your next book review. Be sure to check AND follow their review policies. Don’t be a nuisance. 🙂

Mellissa Green, founder of A Blue Green Universe

Oliver and Richard at Striking 13

Catherine at Ethereal Pages

Andrea Jamison at Reviews in the City and IAIindependentPublishingblog.wordpress.com

Barb & Emily at Paging Through The Days Blog

Kai Butcher at K.B. Marketing Group (author/artist promoter)

Valicity Garris at The Rebel Christian

Mirta E. at Turn the Page

Kendra Allen at Reads and Treats

Enter Here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit REVEAL Academy

 

Coach & Consultant

Greetings readers, writers, and authors!

Please overlook the debris, as I reorganize my blog. Recently, I’ve decided to merge my two identities: My status as an amateur writer and business owner.

I would say I’ve done quite well keeping my identities separate until now. Only a select few in my life know that I’m both an erotic author and straight & narrow business professional. Well, that’s changed and I’m not out in the open.

Those of you here know me as a writer, author, blogger, book reviewer. Now meet the vanilla business professional. Alright… not vanilla… maybe not even tame.

My day job, or rather, profession is in the area of business development. My forte is helping entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business. As long as I’m tooting my horn, I’ll say I’m awesome when it comes to putting together financial packages for funding. How awesome? I’m just under $1.15 million in capital infusion, that is helping owners inject money into their businesses.

Let’s see… what did I miss? Names… Renee Townsend. There. I’m out. You have it. Reena Jacobs (the writer) = Renee Townsend (business owner). The name of my business, you ask? Backbone America. Find me at backboneamerica.com.

If you’re looking to run self-publishing like a business, let’s talk. We’ll talk about the direction you want to take your self-publishing business and the challenges you’re facing.

Prequalify for a strategy session.

The Binding Blog Tour

Welcome one and all! It looks like we’re coming to the end of The Binding Blog Tour, and we have a special treat. It’s been forever since I’ve had an author post which fits along the Authors Helping Authors line. Today, Author L. Filloon shares some excellent tips on publishing.

 

Two nights after her eighteenth birthday, Lily is attacked while out jogging, but is saved by Tharin Lunar, a Sidhe prince. When she discovers that her attacker is her own brother, Lucas, who disappeared four years ago, Lily refuses to believe that her brother would truly hurt her and becomes determined to find Lucas and bring him home. Lily finds that Lucas’ disappearance is somehow tied to Tharin; so when he informs her that she is his betrothed and must return with him to Velesi, fulfill a treaty between their families and unite the two strongest clans through their marriage, Lily agrees. However, she is not going to Velesi for a wedding, but to bring home her only family, Lucas.

On their journey to the borders of Velesi, the realm of the Thirteen Clans, they are pursued by a Sidhe assassin group call the Ange, meet with an ogre crime lord that ends badly, deal with a sleazy troll motel manager, and when they discover that there is a bounty on their heads, they must keep one step ahead of every assassin, bounty hunter and low-life criminal from Velesi.

Protecting Lily has become the biggest challenge of Tharin’s life. Lucky for him he has help in the form of his twin brother, Tolan, Lily’s best friend Julia and his three bodyguard cousins.

Available at Amazon

And now a few words from L. Filloon!

When I was writing The Binding, like many new authors, visions of literary agents breaking down my door tagged along as I worked to complete my first book. How crushed were those dreams when after sending out sixty-five, that’s right, sixty-five query letters to both large and small agencies, only to be rejected…from all of them. Granted, with the exception of one, they were all very polite about their decision to decline. Many were form letters, a few were short and personal ones with some encouraging words, and even less were those who offered a short review and suggestions along with more encouraging words to ‘keep on writing’.

The task of continuing to send out samples of my manuscript to agencies, and eventually directly to publishers, was daunting. I was ready to throw in the towel. Then one day, out of the blue, an article came by my desk about an indie author by the name of Darcie Chan. In it she tells of going the conventional route as I did, but to no avail (I believe she sent out just as many query letters). Then she read about self-publishing through Amazon-Kindle.com. Within the year, her book that no agent or publisher wanted sold over 250,000 copies as an eBook through Amazon-Kindle.com.

With new hope, I decided to go the route of the self-published indie author and connected with Amazon-Kindle.com. There was no live person to deal with just a registration on their site, a few questions to answer, a download of your work, press ‘OK’ and your book is made available to millions. That’s the easy part.

Without the guidance of an agent you are just one more unknown author trying to swim your way through a sea of unknown authors all trying to get their book to be seen. Amazon-Kindle gives you a temporary cover for your book until you are able to download your own. Without an amazing-awesome-eye catching cover, your book can go unseen for centuries to come until some poor, bored, future human-android just happens to be dusting off a relic of a computer, comes across your book and even then just reads the cover, loses interest and puts it aside unread. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply in the literary world. Be sure to get your cover ready before you put your book out there.

Another reason an agent or publisher may be good to have is the dreaded editing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone over your manuscript, there is always one (or twenty) typo, one grammatical error, a misuse of tenses, and so on. Even best sellers that have gone through traditional publishers have come through with an error or two. You can ask your Drama teacher (as I did) to help edit, you can ask your best friend who insists that she can do the edits, you can even ask your sister who although she has your back, rolls her eyes because it is another story that you’ve written that she’s read over the 40-something years she’s known you. You can even ask another author or blogger to give it a try, it doesn’t matter. Unless you have a group of professional editors who specialize in editing, you will find that your work will be criticized not for the storyline, not for the characters or their development, but for the lack of editing. Trust me on this one…after a few of these criticisms you start saving your pennies to hire a professional editor for your current and future work. They are not cheap.

The marketing part was trial and error for me. When you self-publish you are your own marketing director, sales director, publisher, social media guru and publicist (thankfully, I was able to connect later with a great indie author publicist, Stormi Johnson http://lightningbookpromotions.com). You start by visiting every site that has to do with authors and how they can get your book “out there” to the millions of readers just waiting for to grab hold of your book. You sign up with networking groups with other authors who ask “if you like my book, I’ll like yours”. There is the Twitter and FaceBook, Wattpad, Blogger, WordPress, and LinkedIn to name a few. Then there are the sites to help sell your work such as Smashword, Barnes & Nobles, Readstreet, BookDaily and, of course, Amazon. Plus a few other dozen or so sites all geared to help you sell your book. The only problem with this is that most of your connections are with other authors, of ALL genres. And, unless you have actual readers, your book is going no where.

I was fortunate. As mentioned above, I met Stormi Johnson. Although I continued to market on my own, Stormi works at getting my book read by bloggers who review books with large followings. Before I knew it she hooked me up with interviews, reviews, being a guest blogger, and my favorite, character interviews. She was able to connect with reviewers who were interested in my genre and would give the book a fair, unbiased review. She connected me with a cover designer who charged a reasonable fee to design the current cover for The Binding, which actually helped with sales. Before I knew it, the reviews were coming in. Decent reviews that caught the interest of readers of my genre and my sales increased.

If you can make that connection with someone who is familiar with the self-publishing world, do it. It makes a big difference in getting your work noticed.

In the recent months I have received decent reviews on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads. With the constant exposure through these sites and those I’ve mentioned above, my following grows everyday. I’ve learn much in the past several months in regards to self-publishing. While currently writing the follow-up to The Binding, would I self-published again? Armed with my new found knowledge of the self-publishing world and with the support of family, friends, my publicist and a professional editor…yes, yes I would.

About the Author

I was born in Samoa, spent my 6 to 11 years in Hawaii (Oahu), grew up and finished school in California, and lived my adult life from the age of 30 in Las Vegas, and here is where I have been since. I have been writing since before I even knew what writing meant. The Binding is my first novel.

Find L. Fillooon online!

Did You Miss a Tour Stop?

May
28th Sara @ So Simply Sara
29th Jamie @ Jamie Be Musing (guest post only)
30th McKenna @ Young at Heart
31st Claire @ Claire Reads
June
3rd Kelly @ Radiant Shadows
6th Shan @ Teatime Books

Authors Helping Authors: It May Not Work For You

Today I’m going to share my publishing journey, but first I’m going to let you in on a shameful secret. Okay. Maybe it’s not too shameful, but perhaps a little on the obsessiveness side. I check my Amazon sales at least once a day. In fact, admitting to once a day isn’t close to an estimate. Let’s go with several times a day and leave it like that. After all, a gal has to have a little pride right?

Control Freak: Brandon's Story by Reena Jacobs

Released September 2010

My best selling work, Control Freak: Brandon’s Story, averages about 3 sales a day. Though it’s listed at $0.99, the price isn’t bad for a 3+k piece of work which took me 1-2 weeks to write, polish, and edit. I have to admit, I’m quite pleased with the results, profit-wise. Not stellar, but at least it’s something. It’s rather nice knowing I’ll have $30-50 a month from Brandon’s Story to fund various promotions and what not. And anyone who’s tried to promote a book, knows that amount doesn’t go very far.

Still, if only my other works did so well. 🙂

It’s interesting to note, I did pretty much no marketing for Brandon’s Story. In fact, I offered it for free for the longest time. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a piece anyone would want to purchase at $0.99. After all, it’s a short story, and a very short story at that. When I set a price for Brandon’s Story, and people started buying it, I could hardly believe it!

Shadow Cat

Released January 2011

Why? Because Shadow Cat, which had all favorable reviews was having an extremely difficult time getting off the ground. I’ve been all over the place with the price, from $0.99 to reel in folks who only buy cheap, to $4.99 to lure in folks who think cheap is crap. No matter what price I slap on Shadow Cat, it averages about 2 sales a week. <sigh>

Shadow Cat and I even went on tour together. Me and my kitty… tiger.  I put up ads on various blogs, paid for advertising on Goodreads, Facebook, Google Adwords. I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to see a return on investment (ROI).

Allow me to go off on a tangent, as I’m known to do at times. 🙂 I was driving to pick up my son from preschool today and thinking about my ROI. With no out of pocket expenses by only publishing Brandon’s Story in eBook and not spending a dime on advertising (I think), I’ve already earned a decent salary for at least 1 week. Remember, I mentioned it took me 1-2 weeks to write, polish, and edit Brandon’s Story for publication.

ROI for Shadow Cat? I might have covered the marketing expenses for Shadow Cat… maybe. And the time writing, polishing, and editing? haha Let’s not even go there.

I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs

Released July 2011

Next up, we have I Loved You First. With I Loved You First, I cut back on the advertisements and went straight for the blog tour… full force. 45 days and I don’t know how many blogs. The book received lots of great reviews. Last I checked, we were up to 16 reviews at Amazon and averaging about 4 stars. Way to go Alex!

You’d think folks would flock to pick up a copy. Not so, my friends. Of all my works, I Loved You First has the least amount of sales. Lean a little closer, I don’t want this getting around the blogosphere. Can you hear me? Well, I Loved You First has only received 3 sales this month. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. Last month was only slightly better at 6 sales. Yikes!

In terms of my ROI? I think I spent about $60 in promotion materials for the blog tour, which doesn’t include the costs of books and shipping. I’m certainly not crying over the fact. I spent a lot more trying to get Shadow Cat off the ground and still only have 8 reviews on Amazon. Of course, Shadow Cat has slightly better sales, but not enough to make me feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth with advertising.

Control Freak: Regina's Story by Reena Jacobs

Released October 2011

Okay. Last piece, which I released early this month. Control Freak: Regina’s Story. I did even less advertising with Regina’s Story than I did Brandon’s Story. For the most part, I just set it out there and tweeted a couple of times about the availability. Interesting enough, the sales on Regina’s Story are comparable to Shadow Cat — averaging about 2 sales a week. Actually, the sales for Regina’s Story are slightly (not by much), but still slightly better than Shadow Cat.

Like Brandon’s Story, Regina’s Story is another shortie — a little over 4k words. I will admit, it took me longer to write. I just wasn’t in the mood to write erotica. In fact, I’d considered giving erotica up entirely. However, I felt I owed readers the sequel to Regina’s Story. After all, the back of Brandon’s Story ended with a promise to have the sequel out shortly. That “shortly” took about a year to get around to writing. 🙂

So here I am, a little over a year into the self-publishing game, 4 works up for sale, 2 free flash fiction pieces, and completely clueless over what works and what doesn’t.

Just how effective are blog tours, ads, promotions, etc? Perhaps I’m not trying hard enough or better yet, perhaps I’m not giving my attempts at marketing long enough to kick in and take effect. What says you?

What types of marketing have you tried?

Do you have a story to tell? Share with us your successful and less than successful campaigns. 🙂 In fact, email me (reenajacobs@reenajacobs.com), and I’ll open Ramblings of an Amateur Writer to you for your own guest post.