This month, Draft2Digital’s Dan Wood, Kevin Tumlinson, and Tara Robinett answer questions and share some author success stories from a few of the live participants! Feel free to add YOUR author success story in the comments below!
D2D Live – December 2019
book, authors, success story, writing, people, question, hear, pre orders, paperbacks, success, genre, readers, kevin, local bookstores, dan, retailers, nonfiction, vendors, bookstore, pen
Tara Robinett, Dan Wood, Kevin Tumlinson
Dan Wood 04:20
Well, thanks everyone We’re really sorry about the technical difficulties for some reason we just couldn’t connect through our normal software to Facebook Live. So we’re going in a different route. We’re kind of working through some of those technical difficulties right now. Again, thank you very much. Alyssa, do we have some stories we can start with while Kevin’s kind of messing around with his settings? Or do we have any questions that people want to go ahead and dress?
Tara Robinett 04:56
We wanted to discuss success stories, right Dan? Yes. Author success stories we’ve we hear about them all the time. Send us your success story. For Kevin, he’s pulled up new software to try and get this to work.
Dan Wood 05:19
Probably just that bah humbug
Yes. Can you
Kevin Tumlinson 05:27
hear? I can hear you had to do a little bit of Christmas miracle prestidigitation.
Tara Robinett 05:35
I mean, it’s the hat. It is the hat. You jinxed yourself.
Dan Wood 05:40
We got our first story. All right. Let’s go with sir Russell Phillips hi Russell went to see someone give a talk about a lead is at the local museum recently. I spoke to her afterwards, because of imposter syndrome which, you know, I talked all the time to feel that way. didn’t mention that written the book with the same subject. When I tweeted about it later she replied RP book you didn’t introduce yourself your book was such a help for my book. Thank you for your kind words and for coming today that made my day and stout my in my anti imposter syndrome file which that’s a great story like, often we’re just too shy to go ahead and like, let people know what we’ve done. And you never know who’s read your book. So that’s very cool. Congratulations, Russell.
Tara Robinett 06:26
Kevin Tumlinson 06:27
I love hearing stories like that. Because we in one of the things one of the problems that a lot of authors face, and something we all kind of have to deal with is this idea that we’re maybe we feel a weird about sharing our success or even claiming success. Like we feel weird about promoting ourselves. We feel weird about talking about our work. A lot of times we don’t realize just what kind of impact we’re having out there fiction authors as well as nonfiction authors. You know, I get some pretty amazing emails from people who are just really glad to read the stories in that and they love reading the author notes and things like that you just never know whose life you’re gonna touch. Okay, so if you are in the if you’re in the new channel here, feel free to share your success stories here as well any little success story will do. And we can we can also take questions if you’ve got anything you want to ask us. So fire away.
Tara Robinett 07:29
Today’s question. Oh, I have not seen where are we with paperbacks? We actually just had a meeting on that yesterday and a lot of our authors are using our new paperback feature. It’s in beta. It’s still in testing, but it’s coming along really, really well. We have I believe we’re at over 5000 books right now that we have got in print. But we have taken author feedback and we are working to make a few adjustments based on your feedback that we hope is going to produce an even better product. And we’re still taking, we’re sailed, the beta is still open. We’re still working through books. But we hope to see some, some changes coming really soon, probably within the next month or so. And that’s going to be kind of a revamp on our first iteration of the paperback feature. And I am we’re hoping that you guys are going to be really impressed with this.
Dan Wood 08:33
Very cool. We had a another success story there from Judy M. Baker. She wrote 65,000 words during the inner rhyme. So congratulations. That’s awesome. Oh, yeah, that’s awesome.
Kevin Tumlinson 08:47
That’s very good. What was your
Dan Wood 08:49
Kevin Tumlinson 08:51
No, I just I was curious what the was there like a process or a trick or something you could share with everybody else and maybe would help with because that’s 65,000 words in 30 days. So that’s very impressive. share with us what you did to stay on track. And a lexuses way to go way to overachieve. john doe had also asked about books so there’s a lot of questions about paperbacks. I’m assuming everybody’s just really curious about paperbacks. We can we can talk about that, I guess, but we’ve already pretty much covered the, the gist. I can’t wait for that service to go fully live. Everyone’s gonna be very excited about it.
Dan Wood 09:32
It’s been very difficult. Like there’s a lot to get right with paperbacks, and they have a lot of backers. So you don’t really have with the books, you know, like you have an issue with your ebook. Generally, we can get it updated everywhere within a few hours. Like it’s just digital sending things with paperback. You’ve got to deal with shipping and everything. You’ve got an actual physical product and so trying to get that all correct has been something we’ve been working on. Pretty hard. We’re pretty excited about x. We think we can make it a lot easier for people.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:04
Definitely. We have a question from Helen. blinking, blinking, blinking, blinking. I’m sorry, Helen, we have a question from Helen. It says, I need to drop the price of a book from a for a promo scheduled for a certain date. What is the lead time for doing that? Please, you guys want to feel bad.
Tara Robinett 10:24
Most most of the time, you can update your promo prices within two to three days and see that update right now is the holiday season. Everyone is pushing changes. A lot of our vendors have let us know to try and get your changes in early. So just give yourself a little bit of wiggle room. Two to three days should still be plenty of time, especially at all of your main vendors. But just be cautious of making changes during the holiday season. What we have been telling people who write In is your price changes are automated. There’s not a human involved in that. The only issue is if something comes up, we don’t have anyone we can contact on the vendor side when they’re out for the holidays. So just just be aware of that as you push changes, but two to three days time is what you should shoot for.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:22
I wanted to throw in that Judy answered my question about how she did her 65 k words and she says she dictated using otter.ai and descript. And we’ve been using, we’ve started using otter AI for transcription. So and that works really well. I’m only just starting to play with the script I’m really excited about, especially the overdub feature. So, two great tools if you and the hell narration or dictation to voice to text thing is actually very popular right now. And those are some great tools for doing if you’re having trouble hitting like a large word target. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using tools. Like those,
Dan Wood 12:02
I hear more and more authors talking about how they’ve sped up their process by adding in the whole component of dictating. It’s not easy, but it’s something there’s a couple of books out there about it. It’s a good way I, you know, I’ve heard people that really helped them with their dialogue, because speaking out loud, they’re more likely to say things in the world, they really would when they’re talking to people. So, right. We did have a follow up on the print beta that I wanted to cover real quick from Judy shearwaters. And she is she said that she had asked for a book to be in the beta. But it’s not been invited in yet. It was just wondering if we were if we’re still looking for people for the beta. Right now we have that on hold because we’re making a couple of interface changes to it. And so we don’t want someone to go through the whole process and have to learn the old system that we’re going to be replacing barely Shortly, we get a lot of feedback that we had originally kind of incorporated print into the whole workflow of our ebook process, we had a lot more people that want to use us just for print. And so we’re kind of separating those out a little bit. So as soon as we get that done, which should be probably right into the beginning of the of the new year, we’re going to be inviting everyone that we have on the beta list now into the kind of new and refined beta. So thanks for asking.
Kevin Tumlinson 13:31
We got Robert S. Or says my success has come from reading great books, finding great people who support my work, and I keep writing and writing revising, improving my craft and systems. I started in 2011 but stayed open to change. And at it full time. That’s Congratulations, Robert. gamble, lots dump the day job still gambling. Gambling is a great way to pay for your your writer existence. Actually. Don’t do that. Don’t don’t develop a gambling habit as an author, but he just means he took chances, and the chance has paid off. So congratulations, Robert. That’s fantastic, man. Anytime an author gets to full time on this stuff is just celebration worthy. Definitely. Definitely. Will we got think more stories coming in?
Dan Wood 14:24
Yeah, it looks like we have a from with a question from troya. ba. Are there any cool new outlets in the pipeline? We should be? We should be getting excited about 2020. Yes, we just we moved from our alpha phase and within our alpha phase we’re testing we’ve got a couple of authors on our staff. So we test with their books. So if anything goes horribly wrong, it just affects Kevin and mark.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:50
So I am also gambling.
Dan Wood 14:51
Yes. We gamble with with Kevin’s books. We just entered a beta phase with a delay Which is another library provider. And so we invited some authors into that beta. We’re slowly but surely working through all the little kinks with that. So we’ll be having that one out shortly. And we’re talking to a number of different people. So we should have several new partners next year.
Tara Robinett 15:18
Yep. Check back guys.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:21
JOHN Vela, as I know that I’m jumping the gun. But once the option to produce paperbacks comes to fruition, will there be any way of getting them out to brick and mortar shops? Or is that not something you guys want to deal with? And the says ads in addition, and thanks, by the way for making the book publishing process, so easy. You’re very welcome, john. And yes, well, there will be a way to get books into brick and mortar although it’s still going to be on the, the order of the shop has to actually order a copy of the book. Now your readers can go in and request a copy and they’ll be able to buy just like any other book. could just have to be ordered. I bet shops. Now you could, it’s theoretically possible for you to actually get the bookstore to carry those books. Some you’ll have to work out individually with. But yes, you can totally do that we have expanded.
Tara Robinett 16:14
Have you put out any blog posts to help authors like help direct authors on what they what they can do, who they can reach out to whenever they want to see their listings? Because I know that comes up in CS along with a question quite a bit. And if you haven’t, that might be something you should consider coaching
Kevin Tumlinson 16:34
coaching everyone on? Sure. Put me on the spot right here live. Sure. Yeah, I will. Yes, I can pull something together. That is some sort of best practices advice for for reaching out to bookstores in on the whole I mean, start local, think local first and get your local bookstores to start carrying that because those numbers do get picked up by the the sort of national services, right? So if you can get, you know, say if you live like I live in the Houston area, if I just started going to bookstores locally and getting them to order the books, you know, I have enough of a market here that that if they start selling, it could be noticed nationally. So that’s that’s a good place to start is befriend your local bookstores. But beyond that, I’ll try to pull together some, some best practices advice, because there’s some more complex things you can do to try to get into these places as well. So nothing to do with, you
Dan Wood 17:29
know, our own, Mark Leslie, the faith who couldn’t make it today because he is traveling here to Oklahoma. So we have our holiday party Friday night. And so he’s on his way here. He’s in the airport now might be on the plane. He just released a book called The authors guide to working with libraries and bookstores. Wonderful. And so it kind of deals with some of these very questions you’re asking and how to get your you know, I think I think it’s covering your your print book as well as your E and perhaps your audio book, as well. Maybe we’ll have him talk about that a little bit next time when he’s around to be on the video.
Tara Robinett 18:05
Yeah, Kevin suggestion to have to go to your local bookstores. I know from talking to authors who call an email into our team, they are always telling us that when they go into local bookstores and tell shop owners that they themselves wrote a book. They’ve always had great success getting the shop owners to carry a couple of copies of the book because they usually have like a local section in most bookstores. And so that that’s a great suggestion. And that’s one that I’ve heard from a lot of different authors who have got their books into brick and mortar stores.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:42
Exactly. And I if I were If I were you and I sometimes am you, authors I I like to take in a little I use a mood calm mo.com to create little business card bookmarks and little things that I can leave behind at the screen. prices, you know, build some stuff that advertises your books and tells tells the book shops. This is these are things specifically aimed at the bookstore owners, right or the bookstore managers tells them where to find that book. In the catalogs they use, do a little research a little footwork, and figure out how that bookstore orders books and then give them the resources to order the book, including something that shows your cover maybe has a little bit of a quote from a fan of yours or something along those lines, just something they can use. It might stick around and hang out on the countertop in front of them for a little bit before they think to order the book. So just help them out is what I’m saying figure out ways to make it as easy as possible for them to order your book. We had Debbie summers asked, What is the best course of action when I find someone who’s committed copyright infringement and selling my book independently. The first thing I would recommend is immediately contact the storefronts where it’s being sold. And let them know that there’s a problem and as you need that book pulled down they’ll usually work with you. Some shops, Amazon in particular is bad about this, like they, they sort of want you to prove are they they basically leave it all to you to do. They want you to prove that you’re the copyright. And you can, you know, that’s usually easy enough. But you know, start asking those first pull it down, and I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over the whole thing. Because you know, they’re probably not some Thai copies, there’s probably not many that you need to worry about you. So many stories never going to give you that money anyway. Believe me, I’ve tried but the best thing to do is immediately start contacting those groups and ask, ask for them to pull it down. Tell you know, show them that you own it. for them.
Tara Robinett 20:45
Kevin, there’s a legal form called a DMCA takedown notice and and if if anyone is having this issue, they can always reach out to customer support and we can get you a template. But there’s just a few words that you just Specifically Can you if you words and phrases saying this is my book and anyone you send that to they have a legal requirement to take action and and pull that listing down. So you do have recourse if you do find that your book has been pirated.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:16
Yeah, that is the other advice I’d give us, you can always reach out to us and ask what to do. And we will tell you, and Tara, Tara know, we can get a lot more in depth than I can on that.
Tara Robinett 21:26
Well, we can’t do it for you. But we’re more than happy to help you because we don’t have we don’t own the copyright to your book. And that’s something that we brought up time and time again, when people when authors ask us to handle it. We don’t own the copyright to your book, only the copyright holder can take those steps to remove a book that has been pirated, but we can certainly guide you in that process. Okay.
Dan Wood 21:51
Two questions come in that are kind of similar and related, so go ahead and tackle those Joshua morass when he stores be removed from the show and 2020 And Walter Stoffel asks, Do you continually monitor the retail outlets you work with, and add and subtract retailers as you see fit? And the answer really comes from that. The second question from Walter is, we are constantly watching our retail partners. with Amazon having a lot of rules about, you know, if you want to go into Amazon exclusive yet to have all the books down with Amazon also monitoring prices. And then if like, if a vendor can’t change a price quickly, we’re always monitoring the people that we work with to make sure they’re reacting quickly to both takedowns the ability to change your price around quickly. Because if that declines too much, it can cause you a lot of headaches as an author. And so those are some of the things we look for. If we have problems where the vendor stops responding, we have issues or payment issues from them. When we start really questioning if we still want to work with a vendor, you know, really we haven’t had to, to get rid of very many vendors, like some of the have gone away, like hoister went away a few years ago. Because we have that vetting process up front. Generally, we kind of know going into it. But sometimes things change, we have had to let go of a few retailers that just weren’t performing. Like we wanted to jailing. In those cases. The money involved was kind of negligible. And so it wasn’t really that big of a deal to walk away from, from those deals, because we wanted to make sure everything is quick and easy for you as authors. We are always looking for new retailers. You know, right now, we’ve been focusing on a lot of library systems are now at a point where they’re willing to work with indie authors. And so that’s been really exciting. We’re also looking at Internet vendors pretty constantly, and just watching for any new players that start entering the market and we think have a good chance. It’s been exciting to see some of those people that we’ve taken a chance on when they were small like Scribd, who just got another round of funding. They’ve been doing great this last few years and so we’ve been excited to work with them. And you know, anyone new we’ll take a look at them. Sometimes it takes a while to negotiate to negotiate out the contract. But we do that all the time.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:33
We have a I think it’s a success story. I think that’s what I have only read the first two lines so noble Lee says I made the mistake of writing across several disparate genres because I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on. And it was fun parenthetical. I found it a pita. Why is my brain not letting me translate that equity? Thank you I news company to market them and see how fresh Innocent I am in having run I should be fine. But in the short term, I’m guessing I’d be better off focusing on one shondra and building backlist. Would you agree with that? Or does it really matter? I agree. I agree with building a backlist. I agree that you, it doesn’t. In terms of your long term career, writing cross genre isn’t really a problem. It’s just what whatever your goal happens to be in. In this case, if you’re trying to get to a point where you’re making make a living money from writing these books, you want to do it as quickly as possible. What we have found again and again, is one of the best ways to do that is to focus on one genre, sometimes just one character, kind of like what Lee child does with jack, is it jack Reacher with the child. They’re all blending together now. But jack Reacher and the child, he only writes those books, and he writes one book after another after another, and that callo gets deeper and deeper. And so when people discover one jack Reacher book, they’ve got dozens of others they can go to immediately after. And that is a good thing. So you can write whatever you want. Long term. You know, a lot of us really want to have the kind of career we just write whatever we want, whenever we feel like it. But if your goal is I want to make a living as quickly as possible. This, this tends to be the fastest way to do it. So
Dan Wood 26:21
hundred percent agree with that, like, often when I’m talking to either aspiring authors or authors who are just starting their journey, the best advice I can give them is to focus in on one one type of story. At first, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with that forever, right? It’s just going to make it a lot easier for your marketing. And with that in mind, just really focusing on series. Later on, you can start doing a little bit like once your name gets out there, but at the very beginning like you’re struggling so much to get your name out there in the books out there. Writing in series of writing within the same genre, will just save you a lot of heartache, help you catch on quicker, and you know, build up a name and then start, you know, maybe you in one series and go on to a new series and something else. I know authors that are maintaining, you know, two or three series and just kind of spreading out when they released the new books for each series. So you have a lot of options. That’s great thing about being an indie, you don’t have anyone telling you that you have to write this thing versus that thing.
Kevin Tumlinson 27:31
Right? There’s a follow up to that from john below says that. He’s asking if he’s wondering if it might be a good yet good idea to use pen names for different genres. And I can tell you that yes and no. And again, it’s going to come back to your strategy. But every time you create a new PIN, when you’re creating a brand, a new brand, and that brand, it gets its own marketing, it’s unknown, and you have to introduce it to the world. You have to make the world love it. So It’s really down to you know, how much work and time are you going to be able to put in this? So, there is the question of are you diluting your brand? If you happen to be like, I’m a thriller writer, if I started writing, you know, romance novels or Bigfoot erotica or something, would that dilute my brand? And I think the answer is yes. But I also think that over time, what I really what I personally really want is for readers to follow me more than they’re following the genre, the characters that I’m producing. That said, the readers are going to be you know, expecting as if they come in on jack Reacher. They don’t want to suddenly be read reading sci fi. They want to read more jack Reacher. So just be aware that there can be some attrition as you you start to swap genres. The other on the other hand, if you if you feel like you’ve got the energy and the time resources to do it, having multiple pen names does give you a lot of latitude, a lot of freedom. And you can even do fun things like crossovers with yourself. Things like that. So there’s some things to be, there’s some real positive to be said there. But on the whole, I personally want people to follow me and not just my characters and novels. So
Dan Wood 29:17
you might look at like reader habits, there are genres like science fiction, fantasy, where they’re very Jason and people. A lot of people that read fantasy also read sci fi, whereas, you know, if you’re writing mid grade, but then also romance, you probably don’t want to mix those two, like be under the same author name. So like, there’s just some things you kind of want to separate out because there’s not a lot of crossover readership. The other thing we have learned or seen over the last year, too, is with the way the Amazon also bought support. Sometimes it’s better to like not to have like a pen name, so That you kind of you’re you’re not getting some of your readers from another genre and kind of confusing the also bots. I think it’s beginning to matter a little bit less now that most of Amazon is showing you different ads, you have no control over. But it is something to think about. But a question from calling Simpson about do plans for expanding into the Chinese market? We’re definitely open to it. From what we’ve seen, the reality is is getting a book into the Chinese market is very difficult because of their censorship laws. And so we’re not in a rush. You know, we’re kind of looking for good opportunities, always but a very low number of traditional books, get into the Chinese market, doing all the checks and things to you know, find the things that the Chinese government doesn’t want you to be writing about, would be difficult with indie books and so Yeah, it’s something you would never say never. But duality is a very small number of books can make it into the Chinese market from the English market.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:14
Judy share waters asked if I upload a book that I published earlier this year. What date do I use on DVD as a release date? I don’t see. Well, you guys may know something I don’t know. But I don’t think there’s any issue with using the actual release date is there,
Tara Robinett 31:30
there’s no issue at all. No, and a lot of authors will do that they will. If it’s, you know, part of their backlog, they’ll use their original release date. Some authors prefer to set today’s date and and move forward from here. But it’s, it’s completely the author’s choice we can work with with whatever you fill in. And there’s, there’s no negatives there.
Dan Wood 31:53
But it might be clear to readers if you have a book that you’re just you haven’t changed It all it’s the same version more or less, I would probably go with the original release date. If you have like be working several authors that have gotten their rights back after 30 years Sue books that they wrote a long time ago. If you if you’ve gone in and updated some of the content, you know, if you’ve done some editing or you’ve added a forward or something of that nature, I would go ahead and give it a new release date. There isn’t really any advantage, like based off the release date, like you’re not getting any extra algorithm love that we’ve seen. So I, I would go with the original release date just for clarity. In case a reader is wondering, hey, I thought I bought that book before. Just to make it easy for them to sell. They don’t think it’s Hey, there’s a new book and then they buy it and they realize, Oh, I already added this book.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:50
Yeah, I think it might be okay. I don’t know if there’s an advantage or disadvantage honestly. Now I’m thinking about it. But if you are releasing like an all new edition To a book, maybe even a new cover, etc, it may not be a bad idea to do the date that your your, you know, the new release date. And in that case, I would actually, sometimes you’d want there’s an advantage to keeping the original first edition around as a separate book. You can link them if you want. There, there’s some debate about this, but I you know, sometimes some of the services won’t replace a new or the old edition with the new edition. So you could actually use that leverage that to make more sales. If you got readers on your list and you say, you know, hey, I’ve got a whole new addition to the book with new material and fix some things or whatever and I’m putting it on sale for, you know, 99 cents over the next seven days. A lot of people might support you and buy the book and there’s nothing really wrong with that, then it’s long as they know going into this same book, you’re probably fine. There are some advanced doing it that way. Yeah.
Tara Robinett 34:04
I’ve got it. I’ve got a success story here for you, Kevin Walter Stoffel. And he says my success story five or so years ago, I wouldn’t know what you folks were talking about. Now at least some of it registers.
Dan Wood 34:21
Definitely one of the reasons why we started doing these videos is just, there’s a lot of people we do get to meet at conferences that are getting to hear about some of these things. But there’s a lot of people just can’t make it out to the conferences, for whatever reason. And so we want to make sure you have an opportunity to hear about some of these different paths to ask your questions about them. Because we get to hear some of the most famous people in the indie world speak and try to gather some of their advice and then try to share it with you all through this.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:54
Yeah. So my favorite name is popped up again Woolfolk He says, here’s my print success story for cyber spear See, he says he doesn’t see a way to attach an image to the comment. So he’s uploaded the full cover to the book blog and he gives a link there. It got cut off and I can’t read it for some reason. But since I went through the whole process both the KDP and DVD, and much happier with the interface at DVD, once I got past the confusing links, which are part of the revamp, I don’t know what that means. One pleasant surprise is that DVD uses thinner papers, the print books are considerably thinner. required a change to the cover, of course, but I prefer the much lighter book. I carry my DVD author copies around around now instead of the KTP ones. So there you go. It’s good to hear a success story about print. That’s that’s since it’s new, and we’re fixing things and apparently, yes. Good deal. Well, we got up next we have another another white question from dead summers candidate nonfiction illustrated book about a pet generate more sales sales at the age group is extended to include readers five to 95, instead of six to nine. I’m going to be honest and say I have never seen any the needle move at all when you change the age range on books. So I, if if that does help, I really can’t speak to it per se. As far as me, I’ll tell it doesn’t have any impact at all. You guys have a different experience with that than I do.
Tara Robinett 36:31
Well, one of the things I wanted to point out is those age ranges are set by the vendors. They are just using those to try and figure out how to classify your books. And they want to put your books in a category with other similar titles, similar genres, similar age range, and so on. And so there’s not an age classified classification that’s five to 95. That is, there isn’t one they give you these age ranges. We kind of have to fill in the blanks. So there’s, you know, that wouldn’t be an option as far as five to 95. But, like Kevin said, changing the age range generally it doesn’t really it doesn’t affect the needle as far as cells at least as far as what I’ve ever seen.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:20
Regina Joyce Clark said something that I definitely want to read out loud. She says this may not apply today and it does Regina. But after listening to discussions most of the year I’m planning to transfer all my books all 20 books over to Draft2Digital from Smashwords there in three genres an average of five books per genre plus some nonfiction Is that a problem with how you present books for an individual author with no pen name and I’m getting so I I’m going to interpret the book here are interpret the question here, as I’ve got fiction and nonfiction is that an issue it can be depending on what your your You know, strategy is, there are certainly plenty of authors out there who are writing both fiction and nonfiction. What I do hear quite a bit from from those folks. And this has been my experience as well. There are different audiences and there is some there does tend to be some, some confusion, things get lost in translation, what I would recommend is this is a perfect time to go ahead and use a pen name and try to use so you can always use something close to your own name. So for example, I my you know, my first name is James. So I sometimes write things under Jay Kevin Tumlinson to differentiate them from the rest of my work. So I might do a J. Kevin Tumlinson for nonfiction Kevin Tumlinson for fiction and then that helps both separate it out but still keep my name associated with it. Other authors Brian Cohen does he co authors with himself sometimes. So he has a pen name and then he says with Brian Cohen so that he can kind of keep things separate little that that could help keep down any confusion
Dan Wood 39:05
as well where she’s got her fiction under JF Penn, her nonfiction NA Penn. Yeah. And Mark Lefebvre is Mark Leslie for his fiction. Now, you don’t have to do that, like all of our vendors will allow you to have it all. If someone puts through on your author name, they’re going to see all those books though. Some people might be confused by that might not be like it depends, like, yeah, if you sometimes it can be helpful, I think like it. Let’s say for instance, if you have a job in forensics, and you write mysteries and thrillers, I would probably keep the same name because your daytime job applies to what your fiction is. Yeah. But you know, if not, it’s might confuse people confuse readers.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:52
Know Lee asked an excellent question about how we’re defining success and we did not define success. When we started started the whole thing I think all three of us might might be able to lend to a definition. Because it’s not always about the money. It always does come down to a personal definition on your part, like how are you going to define success? A lot of authors start off with money as the kind of primary way to find success. Some authors start with, you know, I just want to I want to publish 10 books this year, and then I’ll be a successful author and, you know, in their eyes. So you really, it’s going to be a personal definition, you’re going to have to decide what markers are meaningful to you. If it’s money, you know, decide on an exact amount decide that once I hit X dollars, I’m successful, and but the real problem with money and things like that, is there moving targets? Because once you get there, where do you go from there? I think it’s much better to define success in terms of, you know, when will I feel satisfied with my work? You know, how much growth do I want to have this year define your success on an annual basis rather than You know, hit trying to hit some vague money target. And
Dan Wood 41:05
it’s so important to define success. What is for you just you know, compared to other people miserable. And you’re going to be confused because there are people who have different goals. There are definitely authors like what they want to do is see their book at Barnes and Noble. Yeah, so that’s a place where looking into the traditional route makes perfect sense. There are people that want to make enough that can quit their daytime job. And odds are India’s the way to go for that right now. There’s a whole host of people that write nonfiction books, not really so much caring about signing the book so much as using the book to help them with another part of their career. So like, speakers for going do this, you know, they’ll write a book so they kind of become an authority or consider authority within a certain niche. So define what success is to you. Definitely reasonable, you know, like, don’t set out and be like, I’m a first time author, I’m gonna write a seven, you know, seven figure book, you know, make reasonable goals and just make progress every year.
Tara Robinett 42:14
I’ve had one. We have one author that writes a lot of books on the stock market and trading and all of that. And I remember the time that he told me that he would feel like he is successful once he has 100 books in this genre. And I thought, that’s a lot of books. I mean, that that’s a bit what he in his mind it was, he said him up himself up as an expert on this topic. Whereas I had someone else tell me that once they get they wanted to get three books out this year, and they would be considered a success. So it really is unique to each individual author, what you’re writing in and what you need to accomplish, to feel that that level of success, right?
Dan Wood 42:57
And never underestimate like a lot With any creative industry, a lot of success is luck. I do believe hard work helps you get have more luck. And the more things you have out there, the more likely people are to find you. So you know, throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall. Odds are something will stick. So hard work, little bit of luck. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:22
Hard, hard luck and a little bit of work.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:27
we’re kind of coming up. We’ve only got about five minutes left. And I know there’s some some announcements and things we want to make
Dan Wood 43:34
longer since we started late. If you guys are up, you wanna
Kevin Tumlinson 43:37
Yeah, right. Yeah, I’m up for it. You guys got
Dan Wood 43:40
started five or 10 minutes later, and we meant to you so
Kevin Tumlinson 43:43
let’s do that. Let’s do that. If everybody here has the time to stick around and share more of your success stories or ask more questions. We’ll be right here for you. Let’s give it will give it an extra what five minutes time?
Dan Wood 43:55
Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:56
Alright. So we have a question from briah says in your experience with the retailers is it better to release a book right away and market the book and market the book or try and build up momentum with a pre order campaign? You guys I know have have some more input into this. My experience so far has been. I like the pre orders. I like using pre orders, not so much because I think it’s actually having a bigger impact on the success of the book but because it gives me an opportunity to offer my faithful readers discount for buying early. So I saw I market exclusively Well, I’ll go outside of it actually, but I market primarily to the folks who are on my reading list with the special pre order price. There are a lot of variations on this. Some people don’t change their price at all. But I found that for me the best best success I have to reduce the price to I usually reduce it to 299 for for my thrillers. From 699 Now let them know it’s on sale for that price until the release date. And after that it goes up. So this is the best time to buy now and my my readers releasing the appreciate it, I get a lot of sales through that. I know I could make more money otherwise, but I’d rather them be happy. And they they seem to be happy. So what are you guys,
Tara Robinett 45:21
pre orders have have their purpose. And a lot of authors are still writing their book while they have it out there on pre order pre order while they’re marketing the book while they’re getting sales for the book. So that there’s a purpose for pre orders. And you know, one of her her question is specific, you know if she’s got it all written and ready to go, the she released right now or does she set it up for pre order? I think that’s going to depend on how you plan to market your title. Dan, you probably have a lot to say on this too.
Dan Wood 45:56
I do but I think I can do it surely I think you have If you don’t have any books out there, I would not bother with the pre order unless you have a platform and something. So like if you’re writing a nonfiction book and you’re considered an expert, and like you have a podcast or something, you have people that like pre orders help a lot with determine what retailers merchandise. If you’re a first time author, if you don’t have a platform, odds are you’re just going to waste time marketing and pre order like people are going to want to go ahead and get something because they’ve never heard of you before. Once you have a few books, I would always do pre orders. Apple and Barnes and Noble both feature a lot of stuff for pre orders. Kobo has features for pre orders. So that can really help your your marketing scheme.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:47
We have a success story from Colleen Simpson as says it starts with a question success. I have a bunch of titles in my own worlds and with my own characters, and while I haven’t gained a lot traction with multiple genres, pen names, etc. I also have books written for another setting that had been bestsellers, which I would not have been able to write without the learning curve prior. And I have learned a lot along the way. Not sure about success, but it’s been a fun ride so far. I call that success. I think that’s fantastic. quite quite a few books and
Dan Wood 47:24
having fun and having fun. Great thing about this industry is you get to meet really cool people. Like, yes, some of the neatest people I’ve ever met are writers. JOHN della had a success story. a success story is that I started writing my first novel shortly after my 50th birthday, and had it finished and published in under six months. Congratulation. Wow, not bad for someone who left school without a qualification in English. And now I fully qualified English and math teacher, by the way. Awesome.
Tara Robinett 47:53
Kevin Tumlinson 47:54
I love one. JOHN, you’re you’re British, right? I can tell. I can tell by the accent. I love I love the British always use the word maths and for some reason that always that always
Tara Robinett 48:07
that always tickles.
Kevin Tumlinson 48:12
donathan says I opened a brick and mortar bookstore and art studio September had to publish 56 new coloring books and journals since then to fill up the shelves. coloring books are a fun one. We don’t do coloring books. But they got very, very popular for
Dan Wood 48:30
for a while. They were everywhere. So
Kevin Tumlinson 48:34
what else we got? We got some more.
Dan Wood 48:37
One more question that we hadn’t hit yet. Steve Sherry Kukla, how do I promote on DVD I’m selling on Amazon but not so much on DVD. Keep in mind like the numbers from other retailers aren’t going to be as high as Amazon because Amazon is the biggest digital retailer. But some of the main ways we encourage people do make sure on your social media Yeah. And on your website that you’re giving links to the other retailers, we find often people are not doing that they’re just sending out information sending their readers straight to Amazon. Right. bookbub is a great one. So applying for a bookbub every chance that you are eligible. The web daily deals are one of the best ways to kind of kickstart or get your book started with the different platforms. Yeah, I’m writing a series if you’re not writing and series, we do a lot of work with merchandising with the retailers. And so if you get one of those invitations to we nominate books, different types of promotions, they have sometimes their romance promotions, sometimes they just allow like we just did one with overdrive where it’s just like if you give the library a 20% discount off your library price, it could be part of a sale. And so email those out and try to spread those out amongst our authors. You make sure they’re once your books will qualify for some of them are based on genre. Right? So any chances you get like that? Make sure your time readers how to find your books on the platforms. Yeah. And keep at it.
Kevin Tumlinson 50:16
That’s the the key to success wide. It’s very different than the whole exclusive thing because you are, it’s a very different sort of market. It is a long game. So patience is key, right? And that’s nothing that’s nothing authors ever want to hear. And I get that, but you want to start thinking in terms of how do I keep you know, my presence out there and I keep making sure people notice the books. Start to become familiar with them start to think of them. You know, often you put them in front of people the rule now I think it keeps going up. It’s like, you know, for 14 times you want someone to see something 14 times before it gets embedded in their, their psyche. It’ll be like 100,000 Time soon, so the more times better. So just keep thinking in those terms. keep plugging away Get on podcast, get on blog, do email newsletter swaps. You can get involved involved with things like book sweeps is the tool bookbub as Dan mentioned, or 1000 ways book funnel actually has some promos that you can get into just start putting pushing it out there as as often as possible as far as possible. And eventually you start to see that needle move it just it just takes time. You know, I wish I had a quick easy answer. Believe me I wish I had a quick easy answer from my own books.
Tara Robinett 51:39
Um, did you see gal character success story? He says success story ha was almost done with archaeology PhD, decided to write silly steampunk, their New York Times bestsellers, 25 books and 10 years later. I’m hanging out here with you lot. So pretty good. I guess.
Kevin Tumlinson 52:01
Yeah, I was I was I was getting my PhD in steampunk and decided to write thrillers. So we have a lot in common Gail.
Dan Wood 52:12
start wrapping up, we did have a couple of announcements we did was like, because of the holidays coming up, but we’re going to have people out for, you know, on vacation and whatnot. We won’t be doing consultations this time. Those will resume and January won’t do the next draft of the job live. We also we send out some holiday hours, the very beginning of December. We didn’t really think it through and realize that Christmas is like kind of right in the middle of the week. So we’re kind of adjusting those hours. So I want to share those with you. We will be sending out an email with those new adjusted hours. But they are we’re going to be open Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th so you’ll be able to reach our staff via phone via email. We will be around Then we’re going to close on the the 25th through the 29th. So that will be Christmas Day, through the rest of the week, we’re going to be closed down and so you won’t be able to reach us. Unfortunately, most of our retail partners are also closed during that time. So even if you do have problems, we wouldn’t really be able to do much about them. So that’s why we chose to give our team some time off so they can enjoy it with their friends and family. And then we will be open again on the 30th of the 31st and the clothes on New Year’s Day. So plans accordingly. We do have some information out there that we’ve sent out and some social media posts going over our retail partners, all their different schedules. If you’ve got anything else they need that you’re trying to polish my nose here you need to get it in like right now. Because Apple’s told us anything after the 13th they’re not sure It’ll make it. So it’s out of our hands. But, you know, if you’re going to be running late, let us know. And we’ll see what we can do. But there’s probably not a lot we can do.
Kevin Tumlinson 54:13
And all that said, we want to, we want to thank everyone who stuck with us, even through the technical glitches. And thank you so much for sharing your success stories. There’s some really amazing inspirational stuff. We love hearing this. So you know, we can keep the party going and tag us here on Facebook, on Twitter. Share your success story with us in the world and keep plugging away is this has been, it’s an amazing career and we’re so happy that you are out there and a part of our community. Definitely, we’re looking forward to a whole new year. We’re gonna do some amazing stuff in 2020. So stick around and see what we come up with.
Dan Wood 54:55
That’s gonna be a whole new decade. decade right Happy Holidays everyone. Have a great one.
Kevin Tumlinson 55:06
Yes, happy holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. And we will wrap this up and we will see you all in the next webinar in 2020 in January. So take care bye
Tara Robinett 55:19